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COTA has “Too Many Bumps” and is Better Suited for a “Rally Car”, Say F1 Drivers

The Circuit of the Americas is a great track, but the Formula 1 drivers believe that more needs to be done to ease its bumpy surface....

The Circuit of the Americas is a great track, but the Formula 1 drivers believe that more needs to be done to ease its bumpy surface with Max Verstappen saying, “it’s better suited to a rally car.”

The circuit has always been perhaps the roughest surface on the F1 calendar and there have been attempts to rectify that, but it either hasn’t been enough or the new regulation cars are particularly sensitive to it.

Whatever the case, Verstappen believes it needs to be completely resurfaced again.

“It needs to be redone because at the moment it feels like it’s better suited to a rally car,” Verstappen said. “I’m jumping and bouncing around.

“In an F1 car probably you don’t see it as much because we are glued to the ground because of the downforce. But the bumps and jumps that we have in some places is way too much. I don’t think it’s F1 level.

While he is critical of the surface, the Dutch driver stressed that he enjoys the track a lot, particularly the layout.

“I love this track, honestly, the layout is amazing,” Verstappen added. “But we definitely need new Tarmac and it needs to be a lot smoother for the coming years because we have already been asking for this for I think quite a few years and it’s not really been done.”

Lewis Hamilton agreed with Verstappen before he was disqualified from P2 due to a plank wear infringement that no doubt was partly due to the bumpy surface.

“It is bumpy. I mean, I like some of the bumps because it adds character to a circuit, but there’s way too many,” Hamilton said.

“As drivers and the [Grand Prix Drivers Association] we’re open to discussing with them and helping them, like maybe not doing the whole thing so it costs a fortune.

“From the last corner to the start line, for example, that’s smooth, but then the rest is bumpy. The pit lane is smooth. But there are other areas that for sure we could patch up and improve.”

Over time the bumps have gotten worse is some areas and there have been attempts to fix it across different sections of the track. The problem is that those improved patches have contributed to new problems, according to Lando Norris.

“They resurfaced some places and they start the [new] Tarmac at the 100 metre border into turn 12 which is where we brake,” Norris said. “So there’s just little things they could do.

“But from what I head, they’re resurfacing the first sector or something next year, so we’ll hope it’s a little bit better.”

The teams do try to reinforce their car in preparation for COTA, but despite their best efforts there is still damage to the cars, as happened to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who had to retire from the race due to floor damage.

Aston Martin team principal, Mike Krack, said that “the track is brutal” and explained that “one part of the floor edges on the right that has just broken off like half a metre” on Alonso’s car.

“We know that this is a hard circuit,” Krack said. “You come here, you reinforce everything, you strengthen the brake ducts, you strengthen the deflectors, you strengthen everything that you can strengthen. If you look at the [FIA’s parts] replacement list, there is also some teams that had to replace some parts because it’s so tough.

“I think it’s also the combination of the circuit with this generation of car that you have to run on the lower side that makes it hard. But it is a fact that it is a very hard circuit.”

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