Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2022

Norris was “heavily dosed up” to ease pain of COTA bumps

2022 United States Grand Prix

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Lando Norris says he had to take medication during the United States Grand Prix weekend to ease the pain caused by the bumpy track surface.

The McLaren driver finished sixth in yesterday’s race but admitted he was “heavily dosed up on headache tablets” due to the bumpy nature of the circuit.

“I struggled a lot with that this weekend,” he told media including RaceFans after the race. “Have you seen how hard my heads hits? I’ve got internal bruising on my head or something, so it’s really not nice.”

Norris said he isn’t sure whether McLaren’s car gives a rougher ride than others. “I don’t know if it’s better for us or worse than other cars. But it’s something I struggle a lot with.

“When I take the tablets it probably doesn’t make a big difference in the end but it’s something I struggle with.”

The bumpiness of the Circuit of the Americas has been a problem for years. The track owners made the latest in a series of improvements to the track surface ahead of F1’s return last week.

However the stiffer nature of the cars built to new 2022 regulations exacerbated the problem, said Norris. “Some bits were less [bumpy], so I’m very happy they did that.

“But they resurfaced half of it. That half is a little bit better. Not as good as it needs to be, especially in these cars, I think in last year’s cars we wouldn’t be complaining. With this year’s cars we complain about everything.”

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More works needs to be done to improve the surface again for next year, said Norris. “Half it was was re-done, I’m happy with that, but the bits which were not re-done, I think if you just go and walk on the track, you can see we’re tearing apart the circuit. There’s massive gaps, there’s massive holes, it’s just not the standard it needs to be for Formula 1.”

Norris was satisfied with his performance under the circumstances. He fell to 15th place when he made his last pit stop which left him with a lot of ground to make up.

“I thought more people would box,” Norris admitted. “So when he said I had 20 laps to go, I’m like 18 behind Fernando [Alonso], I was like, ‘oh, no’. I didn’t think it would be possible to do especially because I had to overtake four other cars. So it was tough.

“But the thing DRS was huge today. We had such a big headwind on the back straight as you had DRS you could gain six tenths or even more in one lap. So it helped me, made my life a little bit easier. But I think if I made one too many mistakes, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

He caught and passed Alonso for sixth place with two laps to go after an exciting scrap. “Even when I got to him, it wasn’t like I went straight past,” Norris explained. “I got a bit stuck, he pulled away a little bit. Then he made one mistake in turn 11 and I managed to get past him there.

“It was tough, we had some close ones, I looked in my mirror and it looked like we were going to make some contact. But if there’s one guy I trust more than anyone on track it’s Fernando at the end of the day. He’s the last guy I want to race against with two laps to go but also the most fair and respectful.”

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2022 United States Grand Prix

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Author information

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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16 comments on “Norris was “heavily dosed up” to ease pain of COTA bumps”

  1. Drove well. Should’ve given Ricciardo some…

    1. lol… brutal!

  2. Seems like if Lando needed headache drugs to compete, the new directive about violent vertical movement causing a safety issue for drivers hasn’t quite done the job yet. Whether the vertical bumps are caused by aerodynamics or the track itself doesn’t really matter in terms of the end result on the driver. I’d be curious what McLaren’s g readings were compared to the other teams.

    1. listening to lewis comment about the moment he was passed by Vestappen showed his mirrors were shaking so violently he could not use them.

    2. G force data isn’t going to reveal information about bumpiness. Rather than acceleration data you would want the rate of acceleration change, or “jerk”.

      1. Ryan, are you sure about that? The units of rate of acceleration change would be meters per second per second per second, and I can’t ever recall seeing those mentioned anywhere.

        1. @AlanD You’ve certainly experienced it before. m/s is speed, m/s/s is acceleration or rate of speed change, m/s/s/s is jerk, or rate of acceleration change. The best example I can think of is a jerky rollercoaster ride where the change in rate that you are accelerating can be physically felt. That’s jerk in physics just as it would be referred to as a jerky ride. Same goes for a driver with a bad feel for the clutch. In physics jerk relates to the change in acceleration in any direction including rate of change in direction e.g. jerking a steering wheel, or in this case bumps, suspension forces, and aerodynamic forces all wreaking havoc on the desired smooth change in acceleration in all directions for a smooth drive.

          Check out the wiki article on jerk (physics). I’m not sure if I can post links.

  3. This article – and the opinions that it is based on – basically imply that it’s not the responsibility of the teams to design and set up their cars to match the conditions, but rather that the conditions should be changed to suit the cars.

    F1 is successfully inverting itself right in front of our eyes.

    If I were to turn up to my local racetrack with a car sprung as stiffly as a current F1 car and demand that they shave the surface so I can go faster and be more comfortable – I’m pretty confident that it would be met first with laughter and then with contempt.

    1. One could argue that teams can implement some extra dampening on the race seat and seatbelt assembly. It needs to dampen high accelerations, but low amplitudes (centimeters, or for you guys an inch max).
      It doesn’t have to be as fancy as in a truck or tractor, because these have medium to high accelerations and large amplitudes.
      Mirrors are a thing from the past, F1 might move to a screen and camera setup, preferably a redundant system.

  4. Davethechicken
    25th October 2022, 18:13

    Driving whilst heavily dosed up on painkilling drugs whilst driving , you say, Sir?
    Can you come to the police station with me…

    1. Headache tablets – ibuprofen

      1. Davethechicken
        26th October 2022, 8:45

        Hardly “heavily dosed” then. I mean it is over the counter in UK.

    2. He’s not gonna be allowed to drive if he took opioids…

      1. Davethechicken
        26th October 2022, 13:02

        Exactly my point.
        It is a non story, all sorts of athletes take paracetamol and ibuprofen frequently…
        I mean why is there an article on someone taking mild painkillers?
        “heavily dosed” Implies potent drugs like as you say opiates. Not over the counter medications!!!

  5. some racing fan
    26th October 2022, 2:44

    The biggest issue with COTA- as nice a facility as it is is the fact that it is built on a geologically active surface. Why they decided to build a racing circuit on a foundation like that is beyond me- unless everywhere in Austin and nearby is like that. Hermanos Rodriguez had the same issue back in the day- only 10 times worse.

  6. Despite driving brilliantly, Norris has turned into a huge pansy this season.

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