Turn 17, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

F1 drivers predict “a lot of overtaking” on Miami’s “mini-Baku” circuit

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Overtaking will not be a problem at the new Miami International Autodrome which will hold this weekend’s race, Formula 1 drivers believe.

The first practice sessions for the Miami Grand Prix will take place today. Pierre Gasly, who has already logged around 130 laps of the 5.4-kilometre course on AlphaTauri’s simulator, is already confident it will produce good racing.

“It looks amazing,” he said. “To me it looks really fast. Two very long straight lines, which is great because that means there is going to be a lot of overtaking.

“Very high speed section [in the] first sector. There is a super, super-tight second sector under the bridge before the back straight. Very different type of corners. It looks fast so I’m excited for it.”

Lando Norris, James Corden, Daniel Ricciardo, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Gallery: Miami Grand Prix Thursday in pictures
The two long straights will force teams to run low-downforce set-ups, says Gasly, which will make the high-speed corners at the beginning of the lap “quite tough.”

Based on his runs in the simulator Gasly expects those corners to be the most demanding part of the circuit.

“From turn four, five, six, seven it’s really high speed,” he said. “That turn seven is a never-ending left corner, you can’t see the exit, it is just very extremely long. The tyres are feeling it as well there quite a lot.”

Kevin Magnussen echoed Gasly’s comments on that part of the circuit, pointing out the corner is especially important as it leads to a significant overtaking opportunity.

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“It’s a very long straight after that corner,” said Magnussen. “And it’s weird braking into that.

“So you’ve got to try and find the right line there which I don’t think is straightforward. So it does look like an interesting track.”

Miami International Autodrome, 2021
Track data: Miami International Autodrome
The track also features a much slower and narrower section towards the end of the lap where barriers have been positioned to spoil drivers’ sight lines and act as ‘mistake generators’.

“There’s a very low-speed chicane where the middle of the chicane is going to be blind,” Magnussen noted. “You’ve got to change direction very quickly to get into the entry of [turn 16]. So I think there’s a lot of challenges, there’s some unique corners here.”

He likened the Miami track to the Baku City Circuit which holds the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and has gained a reputation for producing dramatic races.

“It’s like a mini-Baku style circuit,” said Magnussen. “Very long straights and a couple of very low-speed corners and a few high speed.

“It’s certainly not going to be difficult to overtake if you have a pace advantage. Baku has always been an interesting race to watch. Hopefully it will be kind of similar to that.”

Neither of the Haas drivers have sampled the circuit in a simulator yet, but Magnussen isn’t concerned he’ll be at a disadvantage. “What you learn in the simulator you’ll learn in two laps out here in real life,” he said.

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Miami International Autodrome

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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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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12 comments on “F1 drivers predict “a lot of overtaking” on Miami’s “mini-Baku” circuit”

  1. Mini-Baku is a good reference regardless of accuracy, but overtaking indeed shouldn’t be a massive issue with those two long full-throttle sections.

    1. You mean with 3x DRS zones…

      1. @eurobrun Yes, but the S/F straight is short, so I purposely didn’t mention that.

  2. There will no doubt be a lot of passing as car park circuits like this with boringly long straights & long DRS zones usually do produce quite a few boringly easy push of a button highway passing.

    Not sure we will see much actual overtaking that will be exciting to watch or stick in the memory though & that is that problem with these circuits & current F1 in general. It’s all largely devoid of any actual exciting racing/battling/overtaking & therefore quite forgettable.

    I also just don’t get a lot of the praise this track is getting as there isn’t a single thing about it that is especially interesting, unique or that fun. It’s just another smooth, mostly flat modern style car park circuit like all the others. It says a lot that there is more ‘hype’ around the event rather than the actual circuit because as a circuit lets be honest it will be forgotten as soon as it falls off the calendar in a few years just like Valencia was & Sochi will.

    And one more thing. I saw organisers & the circuit designers really talking up the T16 section, About how they are on the limit of design there with the ‘undulation’ and so on. Yet having seen the Safety car onboard & various images & so on over the past day I honestly don’t think it looks like anything that special. The only thing of note is the way the barriers have been designed to seemingly cause accidents which I don’t think is something to brag about.

    If anyone can tell me why this circuit is apparently so great, What makes it stand out above the others & what will make it memorable as a circuit (Ignoring the fake marina & so on) then please do as I just honestly don’t see it as anything that special or stand out as a circuit. It just looks like an awful bit of Tesco car park (As Mark Webber put it).

    1. I think the “on the limit of design” applies to the fact that it is only just legal by the FIAs own definitions of track width, hight clearance (the overpass) and drainage.

    2. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
      6th May 2022, 15:06

      @roger-ayles every comment this guy makes is negative. It’s amazing. DRS? Don’t like it. New race in Miami? Car park track. Race in Vegas? Lights are too bright. New Pirelli tyres? Too round. LOL Go watch something else. Boring.

      1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend

        DRS? Don’t like it.

        Vast majority of F1 fans don’t like DRS.

        Every poll/survey including those conducted by F1 themselves shows this.

        New race in Miami? Car park track.

        Well it is, It’s literally a track built over a car park.

        It was also Mark Webber who coined the phrase when talking about these modern circuits, I am simply borrowing the phrase.

        Go watch something else

        So basically I shouldn’t be critical of things I dislike & should stop watching a sport that has been my passion for 40+ years.

        I still love the sport, I just don’t like the show it’s becoming with some of the gimmicks & artificial nonsense. And I think a lot of these newer circuits are awful, dull car park tracks. Especially these cookie cutter temporary purpose built ‘street’ circuits.

        As I said if there’s something that is truly interesting, exciting & great about this track which puts it up there with others on the calendar then please feel free to enlighten me.

        When you have great circuits like Istanbul Park, Nurburgring, Hockenheim, Watkins Glen, Indy Road Circuit, Portmou, Mugello, Magny-Cours, Sepang etc.. sitting idle (With Spa said to be under threat) it’s just a shame we end up with these awful car parks tracks in there place. That should be seen as a problem by all fans.

        1. And just for the record. I have no problem with Miami hosting a GP, I would just rather it be on a better track which can at least match the quality of COTA which I think it’s probably the best of the newer circuits from the past 10-15 years.

          Same with Las Vegas next year. At least build a decent track rather than copy/paste the same design trends from every other similar car park track. This, Vegas, Sochi, Jeddah are just all the same sort of thing & that is what is getting boring.

          Quality over quantity!
          Sport over show!

        2. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
          6th May 2022, 17:29

          You don’t speak for all fans mate, get over yourself @roger-ayles

          1. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
            6th May 2022, 17:33

            @roger-ayles and Magny-Cours? Really? Magny-Cours was always a snooze fest lol. All I’m saying it give it a chance. Don’t knock it until we see what the race is like, both Miami and Vegas. And stop with the gimmick non sense. You sound like an old F1 fan whose time has passed you by.

  3. Yeah I must admit that having read all the talk around the Turns 13-16 section over the past few days that I am rather underwhelmed by it having now seen it.

    The elevation that I saw them describe as ‘On the limit’ doesn’t seem especially noteworthy, The barrier setup looks unnecessarily narrow/dangerous on the entry & the 14/15 chicane looks very similar to that chicane they removed from the end of the Abu Dhabi back straight sort of mixed with the 15/16 section from Sochi.

    1. @gt-racer The 13-16 twisty sections looks like it would function similarly to Barcelona sector 3 in making it hard to stay close to and get a run on the leading car. However, with the length of the straight and assuming the DRS section is long enough i’m sure they will still be able to make passes from quite far back. Turns 6-8 leading onto the other long flat out section looks better for racing, but again if the DRS zone is too long like they normally make it then staying close will not be that relevant as they will likely be well past before the braking zone.

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