Start, IndyCar, Road America, 2021

Vettel prefers “proper tracks” like Road America to Miami

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says he would get more enjoyment from driving some of America’s classic permanent circuits than the Miami International Autodrome.

In brief

“I’d love to go to proper tracks” in the US – Vettel

Vettel, who made his Formula 1 debut at the 2007 US Grand Prix, said the country “has fantastic race circuits with incredible history” that he’d like to sample.

He called attention to the Road America circuit in Wisconsin, which IndyCar races at, as one venue he is keen to try, which he believes would be more exciting than Miami’s track.

“Going to Road America, for certainly the money that was spent to build this could have easily, you know, brought the standard up in great places, like Road America. And from a driving point of view, I think they would be a lot more thrilling.”

However he acknowledged the Miami’s circuit offers “a very different interest” for fans. “Racing in the cities is exciting because people are already there. You don’t need to excite the people, because in the first place, they are already close.”

“From a fan point of view I think that’s difficult for me to judge because the last time I sat on the grandstand to watch the race was in 2001,” he added, “So, a long time ago, and yeah, every fan is different. So it’s more for the fans in a way to decide.

“But certainly from a racing and driving thrill, I’d love to go to proper tracks.”

Pirelli spared effects of global supply disruption

Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli has not suffered the supply chain problems which have affected some other manufacturers following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However the tyre maker’s head of motorsport Mario Isola said they are experiencing high demand at the moment.

“The real issue is that after Covid all the championships started again and a lot of championships increase in the number of entries,” Isola explained. “So we have a very high request of tyres. We produce the tyres for motorsport in Turkey and Romania and still the factories are producing at the maximum capacity at the moment.

“We are in the position to supply all the championships – that’s more than 200, roughly 230 championships around the world, so it’s quite a lot of tyres, I have to say. But for the moment. It’s okay. Touch wood. We don’t know what is going to happen.”

Eaton only cleared to race with three weeks’ notice

W Series driver Abbie Eaton says she only had three weeks’ notice for her comeback to the series this year.

Eaton suffered spinal fractures at COTA last year when her car flipped up sharply and then came down heavily on kerbs. Her recovery and return to driving excluded her from the Barcelona pre-season test for W Series.

“I found out I was able to return to W Series probably about three weeks ago, so pretty last minute,” she told RaceFans. “But I’m here now and that’s all that matters.”

Eaton said that she had “made it through” her first session back in the W Series car and was relieved to find she “wasn’t completely appalling but there’s still a lot of work to be done with myself, with my body – I still need to build some strength and get back into it but I’m only going to hopefully get better and move forward.”

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Comment of the day

After Lewis Hamilton compared the chicane at Miami International Autodrome to ‘a B&Q car park,’ Sparky says organisers need to be open to reconsidering the track design for future years:

I thought the chicane looked terrible during the first practice just waiting for the wreck to happen. The off-camber entry and exit seems just too much too close together.

Cregan doesn’t need to like the idea of changing something brand new. He should be open minded enough to realize that his unique mistake generator design may be a bit of a mistake.

Let’s see how it turns out during this race weekend before any talk for changes are made for the future.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Miguel, Tororosso, Paul Stilwell and Lowell Reed !

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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20 comments on “Vettel prefers “proper tracks” like Road America to Miami”

  1. some racing fan
    8th May 2022, 0:20

    100 percent agreed with the COTD. And the race also needs to be held next year as the first race of the season in March. It’s just too hot down there to hold a race at this time of year. Look how the heat has affected the track- and this what I was afraid of.

    1. Temps in Florida (similarly to Southeast Asia) stay relatively stable all year round, so holding in May versus March or April isn’t massively different. However, holding the event earlier wouldn’t be bad since Miami doesn’t lack warm weather earlier in the spring, like Imola can in comparison or Shanghai.
      Opening the seasons would be unnecessary, though.
      A weekend swap with Imola or round 3 two weeks after SA if Chinese GP still can’t take place & Melbourne returns as the opener or moves to later in the season.

  2. Cheers to Vettel – “I’d love to go to proper tracks” in the US – in particular to Road America. That would be a great track for F1. One of my favorite tracks in the US. It would be so much better than the Miami one for sure.

    1. some racing fan
      8th May 2022, 0:58

      Road America is one of the best venues we have over here. It’s really just a place where people come to hang out and watch whatever racing is going on. It’s also amazing for photography. Unfortunately however some millions would have to be spent bringing it up to Grade 1 spec, and it might also be butchered.

      1. I think Road America would be a tough sell for a few reasons. 1. its so close to Montreal that it would potentially affect both races attendance. 2. the nearest city is Milwaukie and it would potentially be a hard sell to attact the normal F1 crowd (Liberty has tended to focus on more exciting or wealthy destinations).

        I do believe there is a track that could satisfy all of this, Road Atlanta. It would take some renovations to meet FIA standards for F1 but its doable. Atlanta is a major transportation hub internationally so travel wouldn’t be difficult. Its also pretty well located on the eastern US to draw in a massive crowd.

    2. Yes, totally agree. I’ve been there back in the CART days and it was a fantastic track. Never happen though….

    3. @bullmello / some racing fan Yeah, I’ve found myself watching things like IMSA where I have no idea whats going on but it’s just a joy watch to cars tackle it. It is a fast, undulating thing of beauty. It looks and drives like no other circuit in video games.

      However, I fear that if the FIA scalpel came out to make it F1 ready, it might be nothing like what it is today. An F1 car going round it wouldn’t look like what we’d pictured in our heads and people would wish it had been left alone.

  3. Something i was thinking about with that chicane which would maybe improve it would be to do away with the sausage kerbs and replace them with what they used to have at little chicanes like that.

    You look at the kerbs at Variante Alta pre-2006, The monza Chicanes pre-2009, The final chicane at Montreal and the old version of the Bus Stop.

    Kerbs that you could really throw the car over but which offered a real challenge as if you used too much you lost time but also lost time if you used too little. Plus they opened up the corners a little bit and allowed for slightly different lines.

    And they were actually more fun to watch cars bouncing over than the sausage kerb design that replaced them

    1. @stefmeister
      Those are merely bumps rather than sausage curbs necessarily, but I don’t see them being an issue.

  4. As long as Vet is being beaten by clowns like Lance then he’s best not talking….

    1. Seb can’t hear you. His Championship rings are plugging his ears.

      1. Not during the race, they aren’t.

    2. Superman, you sound like an angry 12-year old or a drunken person. Please stop with the childishness.
      Vettel is sharing his opinion as an F1 driver about a subject that concerns both F1 drivers and fans and makes for a very interesting debate.

  5. Indy is the only other permanent circuit with FIA Grade 1, but unfortunately, LM/FOM have seemed uninterested in a return since they’ve instead gone for temporary tracks in city areas.

    Tsunoda’s translated Player’s Tribune post is good even if from last year.

    I share COTD’s view.
    They indeed should be more open to a change rather than dismissing this possibility immediately.

  6. I have a horrible feeling that the race is going to be a series of safety cars and red flags.

    That tight section is bad enough in practice and quali, in the race I expect it to be a disaster. I hope I’m wrong – because one car in the wall there means a red flag, as there is nowhere to recover the cars to easily.

    1. Hate to agree, but yeah. Unfamiliar track, porposing, low grip, no rubber off line, concrete barriors, and all that hype, will add up to take its toll.

  7. Completely agree with Vettel. Whilst the US does not feature any tracks in the ultimate tier for me (only Spa, Suzuka and Interlagos are in there) I honestly think all the following tracks would easily be in the top ten tracks measured by the currently F1 calendar: Road America, Sonoma, Mid-Ohio, Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, Daytona Road Course, Watkin’s Glen. I guess there is a reason why IMSA is my favourite series.

    Yes, there is the argument that these tracks would be butchered to get them to modern F1 standards. Whilst I would dread that, I am unsure it would be needed. I think an F1 car around them would be far safer than say Jeddah. I doubt any would be more dangerous than Imola. Maybe Sonoma might need changing, and I don’t know if F1 cars could take the banking of Daytona.

  8. The most effective way to stop a ‘proper’ track like Road America being a ‘proper track’ is to ‘upgrade’ it to Grade 1 standards and put F1 cars on it.

    F1 – Please don’t ever go to these places until you have reverted your technical regs to Grade 2 specification.

  9. The problem is that the only other Grade 1 track in the US (other than the ones that are coming) is Indianapolis, and Penske doesn’t want F1. Not that he has anything against it or sth, it’s that he has other things on his mind right now, such as keeping IndyCar on its upwards trajectory and expanding the IMS itself – installing lights for sportscar racing is infinitely cheaper than getting F1 to go there.

    And all the other tracks that could get Grade 1 don’t want Grade 1. It costs a loooooot of money, you might need to alter your track layout a lot, which might negatively affect all the other series out there… Tracks like Road America or Watkins Glen could quite easily be Grade 1 tracks, it’s just that they don’t want to go through the hassle. I mean the esses at Watkins would be gone for sure, so there’s that. Barber is the only track I could see wanting to go through that hassle, but it’s layout is unsuitable for F1 racing and it’s in the middle of nowhere (aka Alabama).
    Road America’s layout would work as is (although you’d need to reprofile the Kink or use the chicane, not enough space for runoff there), but there the issue is pretty much everything else – pit facilities would be the biggest money sink, because what pit facilities are there now?

    This is why the street tracks are happening – they’re infinitely easier to do. And if we’re honest they’ve tarted up a literal carpark well enough to make it look like a permanent race facility anyway.

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