Driver complaints have ’embarrassed’ Miami track designer

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Clive Bowen, the Miami track’s designer, confesses he was humiliated by the drivers’ comments during Formula 1’s initial visit.

The Miami Grand Prix was a significant step forward for Formula 1, as it marked the start of the series’ expansion into the United States as the first of two grand prix to be held in the country in 2022.

When the Las Vegas Grand Prix joins the fold in 2023, it will become three.

The 2022 Miami Grand Prix was hailed as a spectacle around the paddock, although the drivers were less enthusiastic about the Miami International Autodrome course, which was built on the grounds of the Hard Rock Stadium.

The tight and complex portion around the Turn 14/15 chicane was a major source of concern, with drivers such as Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz believing it was unsuitable for a modern Formula 1 vehicle. Lewis Hamilton compared it to a B&Q parking lot.

In practise, Sainz and Esteban Ocon would find the concrete, with safety worries surfacing as a result of the lack of TecPro barriers.

That sluggish portion was a “necessary evil,” as Miami GP managing partner Tom Garfinkel described it, to open up space for the rest of the circuit while also slowing vehicles down due to a lack of run-off area.

Bowen, the CEO of Apex Circuit Design, which designed the circuit in collaboration with the FIA and F1 engineer Craig Wilson, took this critique of the surface to heart.

Miami Grand Prix

In an interview with Motor Sport Magazine, he said: “Actually, it was embarrassment on my part personally, because there’s a lot of time invested in getting this right.

“There’s professional pride involved, isn’t there?

“There was a lot of research undertaken. We didn’t go off-piste, it was conventional thinking, it was conventional engineering. And you’ve got to remind yourself that first races at venues often have this happen.

“It was the same at COTA, it was the same as Singapore, it was same at Istanbul when it was resurfaced. 

“And so if you think of it from that perspective, it’s just a question of waiting for the track to mature. It’s a brand new piece of asphalt, and it needs to do its thing.” he added.

Despite criticism of the course’s surface and chicane portion, the track delivered in terms of racing action.

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