Drivers fear processional Miami GP due to ‘joke’ surface

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo chasing George Russell. Miami May 2022

Formula 1’s first visit to Miami could turn into a procession rather than a race as the drivers cannot go off the racing line, the track surface branded a “joke”.

This weekend marks Formula 1’s first visit to Miami and while the race has been hyped up, it may turn out to be more of a damp squib than a thriller.

Although the 57-lap grand prix will start with championship leader Charles Leclerc lining up ahead of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen, unless those behind make a move off the line, that may be it.

The reason being any driver going off the racing line will pay a heavy price due to the “not F1 standards” track surface that has absolutely no grip and a lot of rubble to go with it.

Daniel Ricciardo said: “You literally have to just stay on that one line otherwise, you’re not really on the track anymore.

“So instead of kind of making it a kind of a good challenge, it just makes it a little bit, in a way, like one-dimensional, because you only have kind of option of that one line where a little bit of rubber is building up. So I don’t want to lie and say I like the surface.

“This isn’t a nice surface to drive on. It’s not that it’s just like, ‘oh, it’s challenging’, it’s just you literally have to just stay on that one line otherwise you’re not really on the track anymore.

“So instead of making it a good challenge, it just makes it a little bit one dimensional because you only have that one option of that one line where there is a little bit of rubber building up.”

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez isn’t at all impressed, telling that the “surface is a joke.

“On Sunday the racing is going be difficult. And you’re going to have the drivers making mistakes because we’ve been put into this situation.”

Fernando Alonso agrees, saying: “It’s still very difficult to go offline.

“There’s like rubble out of line, so it’s going to be difficult. We said yesterday that the track, the tarmac, is not F1 standards.

“Nothing we can do. I think this weekend we need to put the show, but this has to change for next year. It’s very difficult to race like this.”

Lando Norris said the surface is just “not good enough” for Formula 1.

“On the racing line it’s not bad grip, is reasonable-ish,” he said. “I think it’s just very hot, which makes it feel even worse. The fact is just offline it’s really, really terrible.


“And we come to the races, and there’s so many fans here. And everyone expects such an amazing race. So when you come to it, and then they’re trying something new with the surface, and something they’ve not really done before, then I think we end up in a position like we are.

“You don’t want everyone to be exactly the same, every track, you like the differences, you like them to be unique.

“But when there’s so much expectation, and you want good racing, and you want us to provide good racing and entertainment and everything, and then there’s a surface, which they’re trying and they just kind of winging it in a way to see what it’s going to be like.

“It’s not good enough, because then we can’t do what they require, we can’t put on a good show. We can’t race. It’s not our fault, but it’s a shame.”