F1 drivers complain over track standards in Miami

Miami Grand Prix

Formula One drivers have called for modifications to the asphalt for next year’s Miami Grand Prix, with Esteban Ocon branding it a “disaster.”

The Alpine driver who finished eighth in Miami was dissatisfied with the race track conditions, claiming that there was insufficient grip off the race line.

“You cannot do a dive on the inside of anybody, when you go off-line you lose half a second,” said Ocon. “There was only one line. It’s not working at all.

“We were told before coming here these stones from Georgia are the best in the world, best tarmac in the world, and it’s a disaster.”

Mercedes driver George Russell, who finished fifth, believes the track will need to be a tweak for 2023.

“They need to do something,” said Russell. “One, it’s a safety issue, and secondly it just does not offer good racing. You can’t go side-by-side around the corner because there’s zero grip offline.”

“It’s like driving on slicks after it’s been wet and there’s only one dry line, it is driveable, but it depends if you want to offer good racing.”

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who won the Sunday’s race in Miami, introduced the term “off-line” speed to the list.

“The racing line, of course has a bit more grip than off-line,” said the Red Bull driver. “But I think the difference here is a bit too much in places.”

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finished sixth behind teammate Russell, and while the Mercedes driver thinks the Miami circuit is “fantastic,” the Briton believes the chicane at turns 14 and 15 needs to be checked.

“There’s a couple of bumps that we could probably fix,” said Hamilton. “We should probably get rid of the chicane.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, the championship leader, agreed with Hamilton and while the Monegasque understood the choice to include the chicane, he recognised that it needed to be improved.

“It’s a corner that is just a bit unnatural and it’s a corner that I think it can be easily manipulated to look a bit different and create a better combination,” Leclerc said.

“I think it’s still needed because there’s not a lot of space there and you need to be quite slow approaching 16 because there’s no runoff. So we need something slow, we need something tight.”

“It’s a new track that you’re always going to go through these phases and we’re already in touch with FOM (Formula One Management), with Ross (Brawn) and his team to actually sort it out and put together a better piece of circuit.”

The drivers have two weeks to recover from the unpleasant track conditions in Miami and prepare for the Spanish Grand Prix when Formula One returns to Europe.

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