Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Miami track ‘really cool’ but surface ‘must change for next year’, F1 drivers say

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers have given a mixed reception to the series’ newest circuit in Miami after two unexpectedly heavy crashes and problems with its surface.

The drivers’ biggest concerns regard the track surface. The cars are lifting small stones from the asphalt which are being scattered away from the racing line.

This has prompted fears overtaking will be difficult in the race, and drivers could make many mistakes.

“Most importantly the circuit surface is a joke,” said Sergio Perez after qualifying. “The racing is going to be difficult. You’re going to have drivers making mistakes because we’ve been put in this situation.”

Fernando Alonso said drivers made it clear to the FIA F1 race director on Friday they expect the track to be resurfaced before F1 returns next year.

“It’s still very difficult to go off-line,” he said. “There is like gravel out of line. So it’s going to be difficult.

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Drivers enjoy Miami’s quick corners
“We said yesterday that the track, the Tarmac is not F1 standards. There’s nothing we can do, I think this weekend we need to put [on] a show. But this has to change for next year, it’s very difficult to race like this.”

Drivers also sharply criticised the safety standards at one point on the track. Carlos Sainz Jnr and Esteban Ocon suffered heavy impacts with a concrete barrier at turn 14.

Lando Norris was unhappy no changes were made to the corner after drivers, including Lance Stroll, raised concerns about it on Friday.

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Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
The slow chicane and nearby barrier are not popular
“It’s a joke,” he said. “Carlos brought it up yesterday and I think there’s some things that we understand and we know better than maybe what they can see, because we know where a few more risks are and where the car’s on the limit and things like that so.

“Considering it got brought up and it’s a safety thing and something that we gave advice on and nothing was done then I think it was the same as what Lance said.”

However the layout of the 5.4-kilometre circuit was largely praised, aside from the slow chicane where the two crashes occured.

“I think the track’s awesome,” said Lewis Hamilton. “It’s a different characteristic. It’s not the same as every other one.

“There’s a couple of bumps that we could probably fix. The chicane, we should probably get rid of the chicane. But otherwise it’s great.”

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Miami Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures
Pierre Gasly echoed Hamilton’s views. “It’s really hard,” said the AlphaTauri driver. “A bit too bumpy, I would say. Turn one, turn three, turn five, it’s quite bumpy.

“But then after I really like the high-speed section also. You can crash cars over the kerbs and carry quite a lot of speed there, it’s quite nice.

“I’m not a massive fan of that Formula E chicane, that very tight chicane. I prefer high-speed corners, especially with the car that we have. But overall, I must say it’s a really cool track to try to drive on.”

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2022 Miami Grand Prix

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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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6 comments on “Miami track ‘really cool’ but surface ‘must change for next year’, F1 drivers say”

  1. The change for next year will be that the drivers complain about the track surface at Miami and Las Vegas.

    To be fair, the track surface breaking up is pretty much an American temporary F1 circuit tradition, so if anything the organisers have gone above and beyond to embrace F1’s history.

  2. Gasly’s view pretty much echoes mine.

  3. I still just can’t say I enjoy this track, I said on Friday that I thought it was a bit meh & I stand by that after watching another days running on it yesterday.

    And I still think the Turns 13-16 micky mouse section (As Brundle put it on commentary yesterday) is one of the worst parts of any track currently on the calender. It’s just a really frustrating bit of track & I just don’t enjoy watching the cars through that section because I think they look slow, clunky & cumbersome.

    There’s just nothing about the track which I find especially exciting, The T4-7 section isn’t bad but there’s still just something missing that doesn’t make it as exciting to watch cars go through compared to the similar sections at circuits like COTA, Silverstone & Suzuka.

    I don’t know, We’ll see what happens in the race in a few hours but i’m just not feeling this track so far.

  4. some racing fan
    8th May 2022, 21:16

    They need to have this race as the first of the year next year- i.e. in March. The surface wouldn’t be as bad if it wasn’t for the heat.

  5. The second sector of this track has shown the world how modern F1 cars seem to have the same finesse of a NASCAR car in slow, tight corners.

  6. the layout is awful, there are unique interesting bits and lots of unsafe bits as well but the real problem is that Miami is a tilkedrom. a track that tries to match a bit of everything together. wrong camber and a typical high speed sector that is dirty air playground.

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