Turn 16, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Tsunoda expects ‘Safety Car traffic jams’ in Miami’s ‘super-tight’ final sector

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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A narrow section of Formula 1’s new Miami circuit could prove particularly tricky during any Safety Car periods this weekend, Yuki Tsunoda has predicted.

Formula 1 will race on the newly-constructed Miami International Autodrome for the first time this weekend.

Having sampled the track in his team’s simulator, Tsunoda said he’s “really looking forward” to driving it for real. He also identified a narrow section of track near the end of the lap as a potential trouble spot.

“It’s really tricky [and] different,” he said. “Especially in sector three, it’s such tight corners. If a Safety Car happens I guess it’s going to be like a real traffic jam there because it’s super-tight.

“Even on a hot lap it’s still quite slow corners. So it’s going to be interesting to see.”

Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Gallery: First pictures from the 2022 Miami Grand Prix weekend
Other teams have also pointed out the narrowness of the circuit as a potential challenge and one which may lead to more Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car deployments during the race. The track is at its narrowest from turns 12 to 16.

Visibility will also be a challenge for drivers, Sergio Perez predicted. “I think it’s a good circuit,” said the Red Bull driver. “It has a little bit of a twisty area that it’s quite difficult to get right and the visibility can be difficult.

“But I think racing can be good with all those long straights. I just hope the asphalt [will] be good and we can have good racing.”

Other drivers who have driven simulations of the track expect its long straights will help them overtake.

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“It was nice to see that it seems to be a really good track for overtaking,” said Valtteri Bottas. “I think the way the track has been planned, from my side, it looks positive it should be good racing. Pretty long straights and a couple of really good overtaking opportunities.

Miami International Autodrome, 2021
Track data: Miami International Autodrome
“So let’s see how it is done in real life but to me on paper, it looks good. And I’m sure as an event it’s going to be pretty amazing.”

Pierre Gasly described the track “looks pretty awesome” to him.

“I really liked the layout. Quite a lot of high-speed content, quite challenging, unusual type of corners, extremely long corners, very long straights.

“I think we should have some pretty good American entertainment, good entertainment the whole weekend, so very excited about it and the location is unique. So very hyped about the weekend.”

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11 comments on “Tsunoda expects ‘Safety Car traffic jams’ in Miami’s ‘super-tight’ final sector”

  1. I think the traffic jams to worry about will be in qualifying, with cars on out laps or in laps getting in the way in the narrow sections.
    Shouldn’t be any different from the tight bits in Monaco or Bacu, but I still anticipate some penalties.

  2. Drivers on slow laps & their race engineers have to be extremely careful with those on flying laps within that tight slow-speed section. I view the T16 exit as a possible crash location for Latifi (pun intended).

  3. Sam Crawford
    4th May 2022, 14:06

    I’d like to think Race Control will order drivers to pass through 11-16 at a normal to high speed, to enable queuing on the very long back straight before 17, the safest way to go about things

  4. How about F1 actually start to enforce their existing rules about driving unnecessarily slowly?
    That’d solve 95% of the problem.

    Set a sensible maximum lap time and ‘encourage’ everyone to stick to it via harsh penalties for ignoring it. No exceptions.
    They’ll figure it out in no time and avoid a second penalty – if they even dare to tempt a first one.

    1. @S How do you define a ‘sensible’ maximum SC2-SC1 interval time?
      I don’t think the ones chosen per circuit have been too high.
      Easier to merely order everyone to negotiate through the tight northeast-end section at flying lap-like speed.

      1. Everyone has done hundreds of sim laps, the track was designed with predictions of laptimes and there’s always the ability to adjust from session to session.
        It’s not hard, @jerejj.
        Clearly the laptimes they’ve chosen at other venues have been too generous, as we continually see cars tripping over each other with huge speed differences and having to back out of their laps due to slow moving traffic.
        It’s completely unnecessary and truly silly to allow people to go so slow at any point on a ‘hot’ racing circuit. Might as well let them stop and drive the wrong way round at this rate. It’d be no worse.

        Why tell everyone to obey the rules only at one part of the circuit when there is a rule that covers the entire series, all of the time? They just need to enforce it.
        It’s another track limits style debacle all over again. F1 has rules, but only uses half of them whenever they feel like it.

        1. The reason they allow drivers to drive as slowly as they do on outlaps is purely because of the tires. Not just getting the tires into the working temperature range but also trying to stop the pressures going up too much too fast.

          It’s something that has become a bigger & bigger issue over the past few years as the working range of the tires has got smaller & minimum pressures higher.

          They drive a bit faster on the out lap then your starting the hot lap with tire temps/pressures too high & when pushed on a qualifying lap the tires overheats & pressures go up quite dramatically before you even get half way around most circuits.

          The tires were meant to be better in this regard this year but to the surprise of very few in the paddock it seems like Pirelli has once again missed there targets.

          1. I know full well why they do it, @gt-racer.
            It’s not because the tyres won’t last or will enter a state of over-pressure* – it’s entirely because they are allowed to, and doing so gives them an extra couple of tenths in performance on their push lap.
            *Over the teams’ preferred pressure, yes. But beyond the physical limitations of the tyre, no.

            Blame Pirelli all you like, but it doesn’t really matter what Pirelli (or any other tyre supplier) provides as the teams will do their utmost to take those to the absolute limits too. That’s their aim and purpose.
            Leaving performance in the tyre is a waste and a failure in car setup and driver performance.

            But none of that is a safety issue – driving unnecessarily slowly around the circuit is.
            And for that reason alone, it has to be stopped.

    2. Nice idea, but I’m not sure it would work with just a minimum time.

      Imagine a driver well into a safe time relative to your limit, who then bumps into a queue of cars waiting to get their quali run ? He’d argue he was impeded and doesn’t deserve a penalty.

      Maybe a minimum speed of say 60 kph would do the trick ? No bunch of cars fully stopped at the last turn. But we’ve seen they’re reluctant to issue loads of penalties if lots of cars are concerned, like in Austria last year iirc. Maybe this could change with the new race direction though.

      About traffic jams in narrow sections specifically, the problem is if someone crashes there, the safety car and its train couldn’t even be able to pass through.

      1. Imagine a driver well into a safe time relative to your limit, who then bumps into a queue of cars waiting to get their quali run ? He’d argue he was impeded and doesn’t deserve a penalty.

        Stiff. Should have gone faster earlier in the lap to allow time for being held up later in the lap.
        If a bunch of cars are going slowly or stopped at the final turn, then they’d all get penalties. I’m totally cool with that.
        It’s a race track, not a parking lot.

        About traffic jams in narrow sections specifically, the problem is if someone crashes there, the safety car and its train couldn’t even be able to pass through.

        All the more reason to keep cars moving at predictable speeds at all parts of the track.
        If they really can’t get through, then the problem is no different with or without these rules. The session would be red flagged and they’d just have to stop on track until the incident is clear.

        1. It’s a race track, not a parking lot.

          Obviously when I say that, in this case it is a parking lot, but it’s currently being used as a race track….

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