Why Miami’s unloved chicane won’t be an easy fix due to F1 rules

Several Formula 1 drivers have called for the Miami International Autodrome’s tight chicane to be changed for next year, but revisions would not be straightforward.

Why Miami’s unloved chicane won’t be an easy fix due to F1 rules
Listen to this article

That’s because the placement of the chicane, and the tight sequence of corners around it, has been almost forced on organisers because of its geographical location under the Turnpike road bridges.

In effect, it has been necessary to “thread the needle” to satisfy FIA track safety regulations.

UK-based track specialists Apex Circuit Design laid out the 5.41-kilometre anti-clockwise circuit around the Hard Rock Stadium.

Its most sinuous section was Turns 13-16, which wound around the entrance and exit ramps and beneath the flyover sections of the Florida Turnpike and NW 203rd Street.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

FIA regulations regarding clearance of overhead structures to the track surface meant the layout needed to dip beneath the two overpasses, shortly after rising 11 feet to cross the Southbound access ramp, creating a crest in the Turn 14-15 chicane.

Race winner Max Verstappen commented: “I think if I would have been in a go-kart, it would be a nice chicane to take, but not in an F1 car like we have at the moment.”

Runner-up Charles Leclerc added: “I think I'm the only driver on the grid that actually liked this chicane. I enjoyed it.

“But on the other hand, I agree that for racing action, I think we can do something better because following wasn't easy on that part, also for visibility it's quite difficult once you have a car in front because you need to be so precise on the kerbs.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Apex project lead design engineer Andrew Wallis told Motorsport.com ahead of the event that “this whole sequence was a real engineering challenge”.

He said: “For us to get beneath the first overpass, we had to meet the FIA regulation that requires at least four metres of clearance, but as we have to tie into the levels of the Turnpike slip road that has a 7% crossfall, our track surface was climbing just at the point where we needed it to be falling.

“There is also an F1 regulation about the rate of change of elevation linked to the square of the speed of the car, so this design basically threads the needle in three dimensions to ensure that the cars go slowly enough to align with the camber of the crossing and then get back under the overpass.”

For these geographical reasons, that meant the chicane had to have a minimum design speed of 80kph to meet the rate of change regulation, and the lack of visibility stemmed from the blind crest.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Miami GP managing partner Tom Garfinkel said that organisers could have perhaps done a better job in communicating exactly why the chicane had been designed in that way.

“I think the challenge with the chicane and that I don't know that we communicated well enough why it exists and where it exists,” he said. “It was a bit of a necessary evil, if you will, to get the track big enough to create the rest of the race track to be great.

“That's an area where it's a tricky part, because we have to really slow people down because we didn't have enough run-off space.”

However, with Garfinkel confirming that organisers will look to see what they can do in future, there may be ways to improve it.

When asked by Motorsport.com how the Miami GP promoter intends to review and improve the event going forwards, its COO Tyler Epp replied: “The biggest challenge over the last year was the tight timeline so we are getting on top of this immediately to try to get decisions made for next year as early as possible.

“We gathered information/feedback from F1, the FIA, the drivers and teams, and customers/fans over the weekend. There will be follow-up with them over the coming weeks on any items they feel can be improved. 

“We are having internal meetings all this week and next week to recap everything and see where we need to make changes to improve.”

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

Why $200m won’t convince teams on Andretti’s Formula 1 plans
Previous article

Why $200m won’t convince teams on Andretti’s Formula 1 plans

Next article

Verstappen: Miami and Vegas won’t take away from Monaco’s F1 status

Verstappen: Miami and Vegas won’t take away from Monaco’s F1 status
Nicholas Latifi: The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Prime

Nicholas Latifi: The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate and devoid of the usual racing driver airs and graces, Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Prime

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Prime

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Prime

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time F1 champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24. And now it’s happening again at his current team

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future Prime

Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior.

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Prime

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Prime

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbon fibre? Prime

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbon fibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? Pat Symonds considers the alternatives to carbon fibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022