With less than ten days until Formula 1 drivers take to the track for the free practice sessions ahead of the 2021 United States Grand Prix, the Circuit of the Americas is currently working to address concerns linked to the track’s bumpy surface, which were recently pointed out also by several MotoGP riders.
Two weeks ago, controversy erupted at COTA ahead of MotoGP’s Grand prix of the Americas, with several riders claiming that the track was unsafe following the first day of running at the event. Competitors explained that there was a very bumpy surface despite resurfacing work carried out in several zones to alleviate the issue.
COTA’s track surface hasn’t escaped the attention of Formula 1 over the years, with drivers also suffering a bumpy ride around the circuit. Two years ago, on lap 8, Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel ran over a bumpy section of kerb on the exit of turn 9 causing his right-rear suspension to fail, which forced him to retire, a failure that Ferrari later said had been caused by an un-grinded bump.
Michael Masi, the FIA Formula One Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department, is closely monitoring COTA’s track situation, having interfaced with FIA officials during MotoGP’s weekend in Austin.
“I was on the phone to my FIM colleagues all weekend whilst they were in Austin to get a true understanding of the entire situation. What we have actually done is, since the 2019 F1 event a large part of the circuit was resurfaced to counter some of the issues that we saw in 2019. The areas that were raised by the bikes is different areas to those that were resurfaced. Tony Cotman, who is one of the FIA circuit inspectors who was previously Champ Car/IndyCar race director, who is in the US, has been out to Austin already during the week. He’s done a report and the circuit are doing some changes for us to address some of the concerns. They’ll grind some bumps and so forth, but we’ve got some time to do it so they’ll do what they can in the time frame.” Formula 1’s Deputy Race Director explained.
Formula 1 has raced at the Circuit of the Americas since the 2012 championship, but the popular event could not take place last year due to the onslaught of the coronavirus.