‘Severe’ bumps in Austin could mean ‘complicated’ weekend

Date published: October 19 2021 - Henry Valantine

The run up to Turn 1 at COTA. United States GP November 2019.

Pierre Gasly believes the increasingly “severe” bumps on track in Austin could produce a “complicated” United States Grand Prix weekend for the teams.

After MotoGP raced at the Circuit of the Americas recently, the riders complained about the hefty bumps on the track which could have proved dangerous, with Aleix Espargaro going so far as to say it was a “joke” the race was happening in the first place because of how treacherous the bumps were.

As a result, circuit officials confirmed treatment work has been taking place on the track surface ahead of Formula 1’s arrival at the weekend, but AlphaTauri driver Gasly hopes this can be sorted – although he is not enormously concerned about the impact this could have on his car.

“I’ve not yet had any great races in Austin, the best I did was 10th the last time we were there,” he said in AlphaTauri’s preview of the race. “In terms of driving, the track is really exciting, very fast and I particularly like the first sector which resembles Suzuka a bit.

“After that, the second sector is a bit slower and more technical. Overall, it’s very interesting, although I think it could be quite complicated this weekend.

“Having watched MotoGP a few weeks back, the bumps which were already pretty bad last time we raced there seem even more severe now.

“It will require some sort of compromise on set-up, but we won’t really know until we get there. I’m not particularly worried about it because our car is working well everywhere at the moment and we just have to avoid any problems waiting to ambush us, so we can continue to close on Alpine in the championship.”

On the other side of the garage, Yuki Tsunoda earned plaudits for his stubborn defence against Lewis Hamilton in Turkey, but he heads to another track on which he has never driven before – in a country where he has never stepped foot either.

Echoing Gasly, he feels the bumps could play their part if the surface treatment has not had the desired effect.

“From Turkey onwards this season, the only track where I have driven before is the final round in Abu Dhabi, so all the circuits will be a new experience including this weekend in Austin,” he said.

“After Istanbul, I spent a couple of days in the simulator and drove the COTA track. It seems to be a very interesting circuit, with many different types of corner and that steep climb to the first blind corner. That first sector is like a roller-coaster.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing it for the first time. I saw the MotoGP riders were complaining about the track surface, so we will have to see if they have managed to do anything about that in time for this weekend.

“It will also be my first trip to the United States and I’m looking forward to that. America has always been on the list of countries I really want to visit, so I’m excited about this trip. I’ve heard all about the barbecue restaurants in Austin and I will be keen to try that and see how it rates compared to Japanese Wagyu beef!”

 

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