F1 “on the limit for reliability” with COTA’s bumps – Ocon

2021 United States Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon says more work is needed at the Circuit of the Americas to ease its bumps before next year’s United States Grand Prix.

Several drivers complained about the bumps which have developed at the circuit in recent years. The circuit operators took steps to ease them ahead of F1’s return last week, but Ocon believes more needs to be done before the 2022 race.

“They are on the limit for reliability,” Ocon explained. “If we come back next year and it has a step again in that direction, I think the cars will start to really face issues.

“When you go slow it’s not a big problem. But once you start going fast it’s big hits on the floor, on the suspension, the engineers start seeing red alarms and high loads and that’s obviously not something that we should see. So I think the track needs need some work for next year.”

Ocon retired from the race with an unspecified problem on his car. Pierre Gasly also failed to finish due to a suspension failure. “I don’t know whether it’s because of the bumps or if it’s a problem on our side,” the AlphaTauri driver told RaceFans. “We had a problem on the suspension, which got worse lap after lap until the moment it failed.”

Gasly said the bumps are “clearly quite aggressive for the car and unfortunately, we had a failure.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said his drivers believe the track is at the limit of what F1 cars can take.

“The drivers, I wouldn’t say complained, they said they’re at the limit of the bumps, what is acceptable,” he said. “But there was never a question about the reliability for the car or the suspension of the car.”

COTA chairman Bobby Epstein told RaceFans the track’s bumps do not affect F1 cars as severely as they do Moto GP bikes, which also race at the venue.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “F1 “on the limit for reliability” with COTA’s bumps – Ocon”

  1. Entire track resurfacing alone would be insufficient, so also some other repairs needed.

    1. I respectfully disagree. I think it adds to the challenge of the race for the cars and drivers. It would be a problem if half the cars were forced to retire.

      1. @jimfromus The last part slightly contradicts your point, or I’m not entirely sure.
        A problem if track surface forced half to retire.

  2. COTA chairman Bobby Epstein told RaceFans the track’s bumps do not affect F1 cars as severely as they do Moto GP bikes, which also race at the venue.

    And they also complained, probably much more vocally than F1 drivers. They couldn’t go through turn 10 at their usual lean angle because it was so bumpy they often were flying, with both tyres off the ground.

  3. Keith Crossley
    26th October 2021, 14:55

    I haven’t seen any other track – was it turn 10? – with a dedicated Bump-Cam. Some spectacular slo-mo shots.

  4. It sounds like a re-surfacing is not the solution; more like dig it up where there has been settling and start over with compaction, etc. before paving. It also sounds expensive.

  5. Why…
    Its the character of the track and the same for every team and driver. it should be part of the setup.
    Like the very slippery Turkey track last year, get used to it.
    I really like it when tracks have a own signature so do not go to great lengths to repair this.

    1. @erikje Everything has a limit, especially if/when something becomes a safety issue.

      1. But at the moment there is no indication it is a safety concern. It a nuisance and some teams suffer more then others..

        1. Red Bull had a cracked rear wing in practice now

          1. So they changed it for a better one.

  6. It’s an interesting question. Should the track be modified because the cars, as they currently exist, are on the limit of what they can absorb, or should the cars be modified because the track, as it currently exists, is bumpy? I have no doubt F1 engineers could design systems that would be robust and/or compliant enough to handle the bumps at COTA and I have no doubt that COTA could be surfaced. But which one should be modified for the other?

  7. I don’t mind bumpy tracks on the F1 calendar, I also agree that it adds to the character of the track. Can’t cope? adapt, like they do at Monza with the aero, or singapore with the heat.

    But if MotoGP is still visiting, they need to resurface it all. It’s not on the limit for reliability for them, but for safety.

  8. Austin didn’t look as bad as the kerbs in Austria do, at least not on TV. I understand both tracks are “on the limit” since at both we’ve seen suspension failures. Like other commenters, I’m of the opinion when this is a known factor and the teams should design and develop to these limits. We need more “interesting” tracks in F1 and the bumps definitely add to the appeal of Austin (and Austria) in my books.

  9. some racing fan
    26th October 2021, 22:50

    The real reason for these bumps is the geologically active land the track is at. I’m not sure this track will be able to survive in the long term if they do not rebuild the track to deal with this kind of land- they clearly didn’t build it to deal with that.

  10. F1 “on the limit for reliability”

    So right where it should be. Great news.

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