Miami gets new track surface – paddock moves inside stadium!

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Miami Grand Prix organisers have opted to resurface their venue’s track in a bid to improve the racing, while a few installations changes are also scheduled to be implemented for this year’s race.

The Miami Grand Prix made its debut on F1’s calendar in May of last year. While it was a popular introduction, teams, drivers and the event’s promoters all agreed that some changes needed to be made to improve the spectacle out on the track.

One bone of contention shared by the drivers was the track’s surface, where grip was at a premium once one ventured off-line, which in turn impacted overtaking opportunities, a fact acknowledged by Miami GP managing partner Tom Garfinkel.

“We could have just come back with the racetrack that we had last year,” Garfinkel said.

“The goal we set out was to have great racing, a lot of overtaking, side-by-side racing, and the track we had last year - I don’t remember the exact number of overtakes - but there were parts of the racetrack where there was one line where there should have been the possibility to overtake, and so we weren’t happy with that.

“We’re going to go through with the investment and expense to go ahead and repave it in an effort to get it where it races better.

“It raced well enough according to the teams and drivers but we want it to be as good as it can possibly be so that’s why we’re going to repave it.”

One point on which many drivers focused after last year’s inaugural event was the turn 14-15 chicane that features an uphill approach with a crest in the middle before dropping away on exit.

It was initially expected that the chicane would be completely reprofiled, but there will finally be no changes to the circuit’s Tilke-designed layout for this year’s race.

“The chicane area was developed that way really for safety reasons,” Garfinkel said. “We talked to all the team principals, the drivers, Formula 1 and the FIA — there was differing opinions about the chicane.

“Some of the drivers didn’t like it, some of them thought it was fine, and throughout the grid it was the same feedback, all over the place. Some liked it, some didn’t, some didn’t care.

“We went through it with F1, the FIA and Tilke and decided right now we’re not going to make changes.

“We thought about flattening it out a bit — we’re still looking at that as we finalize things, but right now it’s going to stay the same. And that’s based on the feedback we received from all of them, which was a lot different — some of them didn’t like it, some of them thought it was fine.

“There is less run-off, so some of the hospitality areas are moving closer to the racetrack but the layout itself is fundamentally the same. It will be all resurfaced though.”

In terms of infrastructure, the F1 paddock will move to the inside of the Hard Rock Stadium, while a permanent Paddock Club will be constructed above the circuit’s existing pit building.

“We’ll be taking the tennis court down inside the stadium and moving the team hospitalities and creating a team hospitality village in the paddock actually on the football field, it’ll extend all the way through the garages,” explained Garfinkel.

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