F1 drivers say Miami track tweaks made it “much better” for racing

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s first Miami Grand Prix took place in 2022 on a brand new track that offered very little grip and fell apart in the heat.

That put pressure on the event organiser to have the track up to scratch for this year’s race. A new surface was duly laid in time for F1’s return.

Nonetheless drivers still voiced doubts about its suitability for racing. As well as still being fairly low on grip, the track’s little-loved turn 14-15 chicane remained, and the FIA’s decision to shorten two of its DRS zones prompted warnings from some drivers.

Having a new surface for 2023 meant the grip levels were different to last year, and overnight rain between qualifying and the race also washed away the rubber that had been laid down. However the 57-lap race featured 52 overtakes, with race winner Max Verstappen contributing eight of those as he carved his way through from ninth on the grid to the lead.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
Awkward chicane was eased to improve flow
Afterwards several drivers said they were pleased with the quality of the action on-track. “I think it was very good,” said Fernando Alonso, “also the DRS.”

“I did [go off-line] just to overtake the Alpine and the Ferrari. I think Max was P2 by lap 14. So plenty of DRS distance, and a lot of overtaking.

“Then eventually you are in the position you deserve, and your car pays, and there is no more overtaking from that point. But that’s not a problem of the rules or the circuit, it’s just the nature of F1.”

Verstappen thought the off-line grip “improved quite a bit over the weekend” having been one of many in the paddock who had expected overtaking would be difficult.

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“I was a little bit afraid, of course, with the rain that it would be a bit worse,” he said. “But most places were quite okay.

Alexander Albon, Williams, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
Six-seven-eight sequence caught some drivers out
“It’s a street circuit, you can’t expect it to be amazing off-line, that’s how it goes. But overall I think it was a lot more fun to drive compared to last year. I think the Tarmac has been a lot better. So it was absolutely fine, it’s not a bad track. I think the first sector is quite alright.”

The Red Bull driver would like a change at one point on the circuit, where he ran into trouble during Q3 on Saturday. “I’m not a big fan of turns seven and eight, because you just can’t really see the apex coming,” he said.

“You’re almost trying to look over your tyre, which is already a massive thing in the way. But the rest, [turns] four-five-six is fun. I think a good improvement was made to the chicane this year. It was a bit more fun, how you were riding it. So it’s decent.”

His Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez had concerns about the same corner, but felt the rest of the track had been improved.

“I think the main problem is only turn seven and eight, going off-line, a little bit off-line and there is no grip, it’s like ice there,” Perez said. “So maybe if there can be some improvement there. But the rest of the circuit has been a very good improvement.”

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon also gave a positive verdict on the changes, calling the track “much better than last year, I think to overtake as well.”

“There’s been more grip on the inside and I think they’ve done a very good job, overall, the organisers, to be able to give a good race track,” he said.

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2023 Miami Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Ida Wood
    Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...
    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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    7 comments on “F1 drivers say Miami track tweaks made it “much better” for racing”

    1. Yes, resurfacing definitely played a part in this season’s race being better for racing quality than the inaugural race, although so did Max starting lower than he would under normal circumstances.

    2. Bring on the transcripts between the engineers and the Red Bull drivers. Let’s see if Checo was told anything about the race.

      1. Yes he was.

    3. Still a horrid track with no redeeming part to it though. Just doesn’t excite visually like most of the classics or even COTA does. Just a boring car park.

      A shame that many fantastic, popular classic tracks end up sitting idle while awful car parks like Miami are added in there place.

      A circuit nobody will miss once it’s gone.

      1. I’m sorry, but do those classics have quasi-yachts and happen around and inside some football stadium? How many random celebrities are there, compared to Miami? All joking (well, not really…) aside, I get it that I can’t like all venues and everything F1 does. What is worrying me is that I strongly dislike the general direction they are taking, and almost every new race event they bring, if not all of them. At the same time, we’re losing things I like. I’m worried that Miami actually will look almost like a classic very soon, and we’ll feel nostalgic about it, as there are worse things coming. Maybe this is selfish thing to say, but I can’t wait to see their numbers start going down again, that’s when they will need their traditional fans. Of course, only if they will be waiting… I’m glad they are doing well, I was hoping for that initially, but they use that financial success to expand in the wrong direction.

    4. Sadly, none of the praises appear to have been reflected by events on-track this year. Makes it hard to give any of these quotes any credence, because they end up sounding like marketing soundbites.

    Comments are closed.