Circuit of Americas to Be Altered ahead of the United States Grand Prix
The alteration comes after MotoGP riders vocalize their complaints about track conditions.
The Circuit of Americas (COTA) has had a few issues with the track over the years, with several F1 drivers in 2019 complaining about the bumps around the circuit. Max Verstappen described the bumps as “ramps” as cars lifted off of the ground for a moment. Afterwards, many parts of the track were resurfaced - the run up to Turn 1, Esses, the back straight, and the final sector.
Despite the resurfacing, large bumps are still being reported. The underlying soil in Austin, Texas when it retains and loses water, swells and contracts. Earlier in February, the city was hit with an eight-day period of winter weather which could have contributed to the problems with the track.
Following their practice sessions, several MotoGP drivers voiced their concerns over the track. Joan Mir, reigning world champion, suggested that the track was not safe enough to race on coming Sunday. The race went without any massive incidents, with Marc Márquez claiming the win.
Circuit representatives asked what would be the minimum requirement for the future of racing at the Circuit of Americas, and the MotoGP riders insisted that Turn 2 to Turn 10 be resurfaced. Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro said, “We’ve asked for more, but they asked what is the minimum, and every rider admitted that it is Turn 2 to the end of 10, the worst part of the track. There is a big bump in the middle of Turn 2 and also in 10, but corner 6 is also bad.”
With the recent deaths of three teenagers in the motorcycle junior categories at world and European levels, the circuit should not wait until there is another tragic event to make the track drivable.
F1 cars are usually to blame for damaged tracks as MotoGP races at the same tracks. The FIA has been working with the FIM, MotoGP’s governing body, to make certain that the track will be safe enough for those racing on two wheels or four.
“Tony Cotman, who’s one of the FIA circuit inspectors and was previously IndyCar race director, who is in the US, has been out to Austin already during the week, done a report and the circuit is doing some changes for us to sort of address some of the concerns,” said F1 race director Michael Masi.
The race will be held on October 24th, with plans for short term actions to take place to resolve the track issues.