The brand new and shiny race in Miami is already a cause of worry to some. Miami International Autodrome, inaugurated this Thursday ahead of the Miami GP features fast corners, two long straights followed by harping and a very technical sequence in sector 2, all on the distance of 5.4km and at the feet of the Hard Rock Stadium, the home of Miami Dolphins NFL team. Although the track looks promising, the race might not be as great as it’s set to be. The reason? Poor grip.
With Friday’s two practice sessions we’ve seen several drivers spinning (such as Leclerc, Tsunoda and many more) and Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr crashing. Many drivers spoke about the issues with the grip and what impact it will have on the race.
The first driver was Sergio Perez. As he said after the second practice session in Miami: “It’s really disappointing that there is no grip off-line.
“It’s a shame because I think the racing will be bad due to that. As soon as you try to go off-line, there is no grip. It’s damp, probably it’s wet on that side. It feels very gravelly off-line. So yeah, racing will be hard.”
A driver who echoed Perez’s sentiment was Lando Norris. As he said after the session: “It’s very bumpy in some areas, which was maybe not quite what we were expecting. I think everyone was expecting it to be very smooth and beautiful but it’s not.
“The surface is very tricky as well. You go off-line anywhere and it’s pretty much game over. You spin and you end up in in the wall. So it’s punishing. That’s why we’ve seen quite a few people ending up in the barriers.
“I feel like it’s not going to be great for racing now. It’s just tricky, it’s like one line you’ve got to stick to and that’s it. So it’s a bit restricting, you can’t do many differences compared to other people, so it limits you a little bit.”
The organisers repaired two spots on the track just ahead of the practice sessions, but that won’t be enough to fix the problems with the grip. There also seems to be an issue with stones making their way to the racing line which has been commented on by Norris teammate, Daniel Ricciardo: “Its just off-line very slippery. It felt like some of the stones were coming up so it’s kinda like gravel. It’s something we haven’t experienced before so let’s call it a new challenge.”
Will the organisers be able to fix any of the criticisms ahead of the upcoming FP3 and Qualifying? Or are we bound to a bad race? We’ll find out very soon.