The Miami Grand Prix came under fire from both fans and drivers after the weekend. Max Verstappen, race winner behind the wheel of his Red Bull, noted that the track was more suited to go-karts than F1 cars, and other drivers questioned the lack of grip outside of the racing line which made it much harder, and potentially dangerous to drive on.
The track was purpose built for the Formula 1, with it weaving around the Hard Rock Stadium. And while Miami was a beautiful place to hold the event, drivers specifically questioned two parts of the track: the slow chicane in the middle sector, and the track surface.
Max Verstappen said:
“If I would have been in a go kart, it would be a nice chicane to take, but not in an F1 car like we have at the moment.
“I remember in the four laps I did on Friday, I almost knocked myself out because I hit the first kerb and your head just bounced from left to right, at least five, six times, but really bad if you just take it a tiny bit too much, just because [the cars are] so long, so wide, so stiff and super heavy.
“It’s just not made for it to be honest. Maybe we have to change the kerb layout already, that it’s a bit more of a progressive ramp and it looks a bit nicer to go over. Maybe that helps.
“But it’s so slow and I think our cars look way better if it’s a bit more of a flowing combination.”
Fernando Alonso also commented on the chicane, noting that it was “too slow for these cars”. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz disagreed, however, saying:
“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 run-off.
“We need something slow, we need something tight.”
The chicane was under public roads, and because of the lack of run-off space, they were specifically structured to be a slow portion of the track. Sainz was keen to add, though, that it felt “a bit unnatural”, and that he knew drivers had already spoken to their F1 colleagues about potential changed. Or in Sainz’ words, to “sort it out and put together a better piece of circuit”.
The Miami track will reportedly be changed because of this backlash, but the track surface has also been called into question by a number of drivers.
McLaren driver Lando Norris told the press that “the track is also tearing up and turning into crap”, lowering grip, despite it being resurfaced twice during the weekend where it became damaged.
“Change it. Resurface it. Just put something on top. You see it’s very different to everything we race this year,” added Alex Albon from the Williams team.
“It’s so we can make the racing better. It’s the only reason why we want it.
“If it’s a single line everywhere you’re not going to see many battles, not going to see people trying around the outside or anything like that.”
George Russell, speaking as the Grand Prix Drivers Association director, said the “zero grip offline” was a safety concern, adding that it was like “driving in the wet when there’s one dry line and you’ve gone onto slicks”.
Esteban Ocon of the Alpine clan also spoke up about the track:
“We heard before coming here it was one of the best tarmacs in the world. It’s a disaster.
“Apparently the asphalt, they wanted to do something a little bit rougher than Istanbul where the tyre is not switching on.
“But in Jeddah, the tyres are switching on and grip is very good all around. So I think if we go with that specification we shouldn’t have a problem.
“The track is OK itself. It makes some good racing but if you change the tarmac it will be a completely different story.”