Miami International Autodrome ‘like ice’ off line
By Mat Coch
Sunday 7th May, 2023 - 8:07pm
Overtaking on the newly resurfaced Miami International Autodrome is tipped to be difficult with drivers describing it “like ice” when venturing off the racing line.
That’s the opinion of Sergio Perez, who snagged his third career pole position during qualifying for tomorrow’s Miami Grand Prix.
But while he will head the field away from the lights when Sunday’s race begins, team-mate Max Verstappen will be ninth.
The Dutchman was caught out by a mistake from Charles Leclerc, the Ferrari driver spinning into the barrier at Turn 7 late in the Qualifying hour.
With yellow flags immediately shown, followed by the reds, Verstappen – who’d abandoned his lap earlier in the session – failed to set a time.
Red Bull has once again been the class of the field through practice and it’s expected the championship leader will cut his way through the field.
However, Perez suggests it won’t be a straightforward run to the front despite the RB19’s healthy pace advantage.
“The big problem is the off line,” the Mexican said when asked about the track grip by Speedcafe.
“If you go a little bit off, then, that’s it, really; you have like ice out of the racing line.”
The Miami International Autodrome was resurfaced after being criticised by Fernando Alonso, among others, following its inaugural event a year ago.
While a new surface greeted drivers, it offered precious little in the way of grip.
“I think it was down to being the first cars probably on the circuit,” Alonso said of the lack of grip when quizzed by Speedcafe.
“We don’t have any support races on – I think Porsche Cup or whatever is racing here – but probably we are missing F3, F2, or other categories to help is I think to clean the circuit.
“It’s going to be better next year but, off line, it’s quite dusty – it’s going to be difficult to overtake someone because the fust that you put in the tyre will remain for the following two or three corners.
“But I think the grip level was okay by now in qualifying.
“The racing line grip feels good but I think it was just a coincidence that it was too new and we were the first cars to race on this new asphalt.”
Carlos Sainz, who will start third, agreed with his countryman.
“I actually think the tarmac is very high grip in the racing line,” he added.
“The grip is very good. It’s just the contrast that there is between the racing line and off line, compared to other circuits, is the most difficult thing to manage, especially in cooling laps, when you’re cooling the tyres.
“When you’re overtaking off line it’s very tricky but I think this surface and this tarmac is better than what it was last year and just need some ageing and need some more racing.”
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