Miami open to F1 circuit changes for 2023

May 10 (GMM) Top Miami GP executive Tom Garfinkel is open to making changes to the Formula 1 event for 2023.

It comes after a roll-call of drivers criticised the new street layout that winds around the Hard Rock Stadium – of which Garfinkel is CEO.

Both Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon were actually furious with organisers after suffering mild injuries when they separately spun into the concrete wall in the most controversial narrow section of the track.

Fernando Alonso said the track surface was “not F1 standard”, while Sainz called the layout of the chicane “unnatural”.

“If we were in go karts it would be a nice chicane,” said world champion Max Verstappen. “It’s not suitable for Formula 1 today.

“On Friday I almost got knocked out because of the kerbs – the head bangs from left to right and in a really bad way.

“It is honestly not right,” said the Red Bull driver. “Perhaps we should change the configuration. We can still improve the track in a few places.”

Sainz added: “I think it can be easily revisited to make it a better sequence.”

Mercedes driver George Russell said: “They definitely have to do something, not only for safety but also because the racing is pretty bad.”

Sergio Perez said organisers “absolutely have to get rid of that narrow section”, but Lando Norris think the biggest problem was the asphalt quality.

“To be honest, it’s a great race track but the tarmac isn’t at Formula 1 level,” said the McLaren driver.

“We came here and everyone was expecting a great race, but with this asphalt it just wasn’t possible.”

Garfinkel, also president of the Miami Dolphins, said he has heard all the criticism and is “ready to change everything that is necessary to make the track better”.

However, he defended the controversial chicane.

“I don’t know if we have explained well enough why it’s there,” he said. “It’s to make the rest of the track great. We needed somewhere to slow the cars down as we just don’t have enough space.

“But after talking with people from Formula 1 and the FIA, we will find an opportunity to change it to make it better.”

Garfinkel also said organisers will consider how to make the circuit safer.

“It is important to do everything right, because if the drivers do not have the opportunity to go off the track, there will be less overtaking and we do not want that,” he continued.

“I am not a track architect, but I want as much overtaking as possible. We will review everything very carefully and make the necessary changes if necessary.”

Another criticism of the inaugural Miami weekend was the Hollywood-style chaos in the paddock, but 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks that’s a good problem for F1 to have.

“It also depends on what kind of audience you want,” he told Formule 1. “If you don’t allow so many people in, you also get fewer stars.

“But what we saw is that F1 is healthy.”

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