Lando Norris, McLaren, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

Drivers fear racing will be “really difficult” in Miami despite new track surface

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers are concerned overtaking will remain difficult at the Miami International Autodrome despite the new surface laid for the track’s second race.

Besides the lack of grip at the track last year, some parts of the circuit began to break up, making the track surface treacherous in places. The event organisers completely relaid the track ahead of F1’s return for the second Miami Grand Prix.

However George Russell said the track still feels different to other venues on the calendar. “We will go into Sunday with a bit of an unknown,” he remarked after practice on Friday.

“The track’s been resurfaced. It’s still not performing like any other circuit. So it’s a true outlier here, which is cool in some regards.

“I think it can be really difficult to race because you can’t drive off-line. And I think you’ve seen with a few people now, myself included, you put one wheel off and there’s no grip whatsoever. So I don’t really know what’s going on in this Miami heat.”

Lando Norris said the surface has improved in some respects compared to last year. “It’s better because it’s not coming up and breaking up and things,” he said.

“But in terms of grip it was still pretty low. It’s getting better, I think it’s probably just never been used before. It’s got a lot better since this morning, probably a good few seconds’ worth. This morning was pretty sketchy, though, on the first few laps it was like ‘oh, no, it seems a bit like last year’. But I think it’s just a much more use-able surface. It just needs some running, I think.”

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However Norris is also concerned overtaking will prove difficult in the race. “The only tough thing is if you go a little bit off-line, you’re probably in a wall somewhere. So it’ll make racing quite tough on Sunday.”

The high temperatures at the circuit add to the challenge of extracting the available grip, said Lewis Hamilton. “The grip is really quite low on this new circuit.

“It’s interesting to see some of the offs. I mean, it is slippery, particularly for the rear end. It’s very, very high track surface [temperature] today so there’s a lot of sliding for a lot of people, including me and so a lot of overheating of the tyres.

“So we’re just trying to find that balance that keeps the tyres somehow in the right spot. But they’re generally always over the peak of the temps.”

Max Verstappen, who won last year’s race at the track, echoed the view that there’s little grip to be found once drivers venture away from the racing line.

“It’s still slippery off-line,” he said. “On the driving line it’s quite okay but as soon as you go a little bit off-line it’s a lot less grip. But it’s the same for everyone.”

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2023 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...

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    12 comments on “Drivers fear racing will be “really difficult” in Miami despite new track surface”

    1. LyndaMarks
      6th May 2023, 3:15

      Tos what happens when the tiktok influencers are prioritised over designing an actually good race track in a place that has some natural terrain character and allows for a track surface that is actually good.

      Unfortunately in this case the location, venue and circuit were built for influencers rather than fans so creating a good circuit that can produce good racing with not too much of a reliance on the DRS gimmick was of secondary concern.

      But don’t worry as Liberty is making more money by leeching of F1 and Stefano will surely proclaim this circuit and this weekend a super exciting wonderful amazing success regardless of how much the dedicated and knowledgeable fans can see through the spin.

      1. Spot on!

        Although… on the bright side… with Liberty offering these influencer car park tracks, it’s easy to reduce the calendar to the remaining tracks where it might be worth one’s time to watch the DRS train express. ;-)

      2. some racing fan
        6th May 2023, 6:28

        Interesting perpsective. But quite honestly Miami is getting a bad rap internationally because of this race. You can thank the stupid time this race was scheduled for that- Bernie might as well have scheduled all the ‘89 to ‘91’Phoenix GP’s in June and paired them with Montreal.

        1. The overall best times (every aspect considered) to hold the Miami GP may be December-February.
          However, since F1 seasons span within March-November, the options for decent, let alone great timings, are limited, so not much better times are available.

    2. Unfortunately, the reality, even with re-laid tarmac, added to two shortened activation zones & following generally being harder than last season, the recipe is ready for a DRS train race.

      1. yeah, that is the most likely thing @jerejj.

    3. It’s a narrow track so they only need to move a fraction to block, in cars that can’t ride kerbs, with one line and walls. So the race is about the safety cars, and qualy. It’s not the best way to advertise US of A for F1 is it.

    4. one line circuit, race will be boring but for the (many?) red flags, this is not why I watch F1

    5. why they can just let the reserve drivers drive around the track for some 30-80 laps to improve track grip. I remember in indy car when one of the oval track was resurfaced and the drivers where asked to volunteer to drive around for a hundred so laps to get some good grip around the track.

    6. At this stage I’m just hoping for rain because we might be set for a boring race.

      1. @spoutnik Be careful what you wish for because if the rain happens to be heavy, the race won’t feature green-flag running.

      2. In Maimi there’s always heavy rain when it starts to rain.

    Comments are closed.