The Circuit of the Americas in Texas is being smoothed out in preparation for the Formula One United States Grand Prix.
Due to the instability of the land on which the circuit is built, bumps have long been a problem at COTA, a situation worsened by the excessive rain and flooding that afflicted the 2015 Formula One weekend.
The undulations were a topic of concern during the most recent Formula One event there in 2019, when some surface grinding was undertaken after practice on Friday evening and again after qualifying on Saturday.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, suffered a suspension failure in the race, which his team later blamed on the bumpy track. After that, throughout the winter of 2019-2020, several parts were resurfaced.
COTA boss Bobby Epstein said prior to the work: “We’re actually closing the track for most of December and half of January to fix the problems. We did some of the repairs last year before MotoGP, so I wouldn’t say we’d have to do the whole thing.
“Certainly it will involve the entire back straight, the pit out and part of Turn 1, there’s a part of a hump before Turn 9, Turns 18-19. So it’s pretty extensive. I know what the bill is!”
Despite this, bumps were still an issue at the latest MotoGP race, with riders complaining throughout the weekend and even not to return until much-needed safety work was performed.
According to Motorsport.com, the most recent track improvements were completed without the supervision of an expert, implying that the job was not completed appropriately.
The surface was called “a joke” by MotoGP leader Fabio Quartararo, and riders confirmed that the circuit will be resurfaced from Turn 2 to Turn 11 – the minimal requirement they believed they needed to race at COTA again in 2022.
Michael Masi, the F1 race director, says he maintained in regular contact with the FIM, the governing body of MotoGP, to gather precise information on the areas highlighted by the two-wheeled competitors.
Following that, Tony Cotman, an experienced US racing official who has overseen the design of several IndyCar circuits, visited the track on behalf of the FIA.
“I was on the phone to my FIM colleagues all weekend, while they were in Austin, to get a true understanding of the entire situation,” said Masi.
“And what we have actually done is that 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 are different areas to those that were resurfaced. And Tony Cotman, who’s one of the FIA platinum circuit inspectors, has been out to Austin already during the week, and done a report. And the circuit [is] doing some changes for us to sort of 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 within the timeframe.”
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