Ocon ‘very reassured’ after chat with race director about Miami

Sam Cooper
Esteban Ocon smiling. Barcelona, May 2022.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon smiles during a press conference before the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona, May 2022.

Esteban Ocon said he felt “very reassured” having spoke to race director Niels Wittich regarding safety changes to the Miami Grand Prix circuit.

Despite the glitz and the glamour surrounding the event, the Miami Grand Prix has been heavily criticised for a variety of on-track issues.

Having crashed into the wall at Turn 14 during qualifying, Ocon, alongside Carlos Sainz, was one of the most critical drivers of the Miami track and complained about the lack of a Tecpro barrier there.

His issues were not limited to the wall though and he, among many other drivers, criticised the track surface, going as far as labelling it a “disaster.”


A look at the new Miami layout

The new Miami International Autodrome looks an interesting track. Hopefully it produces good racing!

“We heard before coming here that these stones from Georgia, they are the best in the world, and it’s one of the best tarmacs in the world, and it’s a disaster,” said Ocon, quoted by Motorsport Week.

“We cannot overtake. Mick [Schumacher] touched with Seb [Vettel] partly because of that. You cannot do a dive on the inside of anybody – when you go off-line you lose half a second.

“There is only one line. It’s not working at all. We should go to a tarmac like Jeddah.”


With the circuit given a 10-year contract, drivers were keen to ensure these concerns were taken into considerations and Ocon has said he spoke for an hour with race director Wittich about the issue ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

“We had a one-hour chat on all of this situation and why it hasn’t been explained,” Ocon said.

“They’ve had a lot of work done and analysis on the trajectory of my car and Carlos’s car.

“There will be changes on the track next year on that regard, for safety. Everything’s been listened to and action will be done.

“I was very reassured with the chat we had and pleased with the outcome of it.”

Earlier in the month, the track’s managing partner Tom Garfinkel told Autosport they were changing “whatever we need to, to make the track better”.

“I think the challenge with the [turn 14/15] chicane and I don’t know that we communicated well enough why it exists and where it exists,” said Garfinkel.

“It was a bit of a necessary evil, if you will, to get the track big enough to create the rest of the race track to be great.

“That’s an area where it’s a tricky part because we have to really slow people down because we didn’t have enough run-off space.

“I think from talking to some folks at F1 and the FIA, I think there’s an opportunity to maybe change that a little bit to make it better. But it’s a bit of a necessary evil through there to get them to slow down.”