George Russell, Mercedes, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Miami’s track surface is ‘a safety issue and does not offer good racing’ – Russell

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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George Russell urged circuit management at the Miami International Autodrome to improve the track surface before Formula 1 returns next year.

Drivers raised concerns about the lack of grip at the new track throughout the Miami Grand Prix weekend. Following a largely processional contest, enlivened by a late Safety Car period, Russell said those in charge “need to do something” about the surface for future races.

“One, it’s a safety issue,” he said. “Secondly, it just does not offer good racing. You can’t go side-by-side with a car around the corner when there’s zero grip off-line.

“It’s kind of like driving in the wet when you’ve gone on the slicks in the wet and there’s one dry line. It’s drive-able, but it depends if you want to offer good racing and something good for the drivers.”

Before the weekend began, drivers were optimistic the Miami track layout would offer overtaking opportunities. Their assessments changed after running on the track for the first time.

F1 team principals were hopeful the drivers’ concerns about the surface would not be realised in the grand prix once the track had rubbered-in. But Russell said it proved “really difficult to race around this track” on Sunday.

“I don’t know what on earth they’ve done with the Tarmac but off-line it’s awful,” he said.

“It’s strange,” Russell added, “because every other new Tarmac on these other tracks – with Jeddah, with Melbourne – they’ve generally gone for really high grip, really good racing on and off line but here something’s gone a bit wrong.”

Russell, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, said changes to the pit lane entrance had also been requested by drivers but not acted upon.

“I almost crashed coming into the pit lane,” he said. “We requested to get the pit entry blend line removed because we knew that with all the [tyre] marbles going outside, having to go around the outside of the corner, it’s going to cause a crash. So that was a shame not to see that implemented.”

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2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
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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21 comments on “Miami’s track surface is ‘a safety issue and does not offer good racing’ – Russell”

  1. Careful George… that’s not what Toto says.
    Do not cross Rainier Wolfcastle!

  2. Well you can’t overtake in monaco because there is no outside line

    1. Monaco only still exists because of the money / history – nothing to do with Modern F1 and should be dropped!

      1. Monaco should absolutely not be dropped and any movement that wishes to do that must be resisted. Modern F1 is literally ‘money + history’ so not sure what else there is to say there.

        Monaco is the most fabulous weekend for people who enjoy watching the drivers actually…. drive. The qualifying session is the most tension filled and anticipated of the season. The whole venue is an extremely unique challenge for F1.

        1. Money trumps history, of course….

          Monaco is the most fabulous weekend for people who enjoy watching the drivers actually…. drive.

          Or, to be more accurate:
          Monaco is a reasonable Saturday for people who enjoy watching the drivers actually…. drive.

          The qualifying session is the most tension filled and anticipated of the season.

          And that’s mainly because everyone knows the GP on Sunday will be garbage.

      2. History matters, at least to people who understand it and have it.

      3. It shouldn’t be dropped but it needs to be revised. With such a large schedule turning Monaco into an “All Star” event weekend with a time trial bracket might be interesting. They likely can’t do anything drastic to the circuit to improve racing, so just drop the racing. The track is worth watching for qualifying, maximize that instead.

      4. I like monaco because it’s an unique track, there are other tracks where it’s hard to overtake, imola, hungary for example, but monaco takes it to the next level, it’s not impossible but there’s barely any overtake every race, unless it rains or you have some fast cars completely out of natural position, making qualifying and strategy incredibly important. In most tracks nowadays you can’t really defend from the overpowered DRS, not in monaco!

  3. The Pit entry was indeed a strange chicane it was a wonder noone went into the barrier there. I thought i was too causious but George confirmed it for me.

    1. Imagine that pit entry during a wet race, particularly with Florida’s downpours that turn on like a tap. It’d be carnage!

      1. Sergey Martyn
        12th May 2022, 9:53

        I believe it will be Carmageddon in the wet – a huge pile of cars at the pit entry.

  4. I enjoyed seeing mistakes getting punished, with drivers missing their lines and/or braking points having to go wide through at least that corner, allowing others to capitalize on their error.

  5. If the track surface isn’t offering high traction, they could always slow down.
    And it works both ways in terms of racing – if attempting to overtake, the best thing you can do is try to put your opponent off-line.
    That’s called racecraft – not that it’s necessary in F1 much anymore.

  6. Great timing, a week after the race…

    Did F1 silence their critics this much that a safety issue wasn’t talked about during the weekend?

  7. From regulations claiming down Jewelery and individual liberty, to a real issue of safety where once again the bottom is money, not safety.

  8. Would have been good if just one of the journalists attempted to speak to Apex or R3 about what happened and what they can do for next year instead of just this constant stream of criticisms without any understanding of what went on.

  9. I’m not sure how this track even got approved to hold an F1 race. From the disintegrating tarmac on the racing line that had to be repaired multiple times during the weekend, to the concrete barriers without Tecpro or SAFER barriers, to the design itself which was a compromise of a compromise of a compromise just to be able to say they are holding an event in Miami (Gardens), to the offline grip issues in no way does this track seem to be worthy of hosting one of the 22 events across the entire globe for the premier motorsports category. They should have spent less time on flash like fake marinas and more time on the substance like the track.

  10. some racing fan
    12th May 2022, 21:55

    One solution is to have the race earlier in the year, when it isn’t as hot.

  11. Promoted by Liberty themselves. Their priorities were obviously all about the show of glamour, sparkle and opening ceremony how does it look on tv? (Did they think it was the Olympics? )

    Quite obviously they found they had spent all the budget on frippery and had nothing left when it came to laying the track. So whoever was in charge of the track laying succumbed to the “‘ere mister we got a load of tarmac left over from a council job, we can do yer track fer a grand cash, no questions right?” So “Bodge it and Scarper” were given the job. In the old day the FIA used to have to approve many features of any new track, lucky for the Americans that this no longer seems to be the case.

    Let us hope that this dangerous shambles is not an indication of Liberty’s increasing influence upon the FIA. We are sadly ware that F1 is now a show and not a sport in its
    media rights lessor’s eyes.

  12. I am wondering whether the promoter considered using an asphat structure similar to what Sepang did in 2016. Drivers were quite happy with the resurfacing at the time (at least happier than otehr resurfacing projects). Weather conditions are similar to Miami at this time of year, so why not?

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