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Start Abu Dhabi GP
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United States Grand Prix 2021

COTA boss addresses track surface: The bumps don't affect the cars

Circuit of the Americas boss Bobby Epstein has said that grinding of the track surface took place at spots the FIA highlighted ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Interview
To news overview © Ferrari F1 Media

Bobby Epstein, the boss of the Circuit of the Americas, has said that the bumpy nature of the track surface shouldn't have any effect on the Formula 1 cars during the United States Grand Prix.

The track surface came in for heavy criticism during the recent MotoGP round at the venue, due to the extensively bumpy nature being viewed as dangerous by the riders.

The surface was ground away to alleviate the worst of the bumps ahead of Formula 1's arrival this weekend, although it has still met with plenty of comment from the drivers and teams. Ferrari's Laurent Mekies explained on Friday that the surface is far bumpier than in 2019, and that was worse than the team's predictions coming to the US.

Mercedes and Red Bull have also had to make changes to their cars to ensure that they survive the bumps, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez getting dispensation from the FIA to have their rear wings beefed up after Verstappen's suffered a crack during third practice.

Despite these troubles, Epstein has defended the track surface and said the cars shouldn't have any issues.

"Those bumps don't affect the cars, they're on a different racing line and they don't have the same effect as they do on a short chassis bike," Epstein said in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com.

"There have been changes done since MotoGP in two spots. The FIA came and checked the circuit and said they would prefer that this part of the circuit be modified a little bit, so we did some grinding in the two areas that were of concern and I think you'll hear from the drivers that the track is in great shape."

Asked whether the FIA or Formula 1 have instructed COTA to make permanent changes as a new long-term deal looms for the circuit, Epstein said there have been no special requests to bring about a longer-term solution.

"They haven't told us anything," he commented.

"In 2020, there was concern about the back straight, the long three quarters of a mile area and we resurfaced that. So that lasted nine years. I hope, in nine years, if we have that same conversation, we'll fix it then."

COTA has become a fan favourite over the past decade since its introduction on the calendar in 2012, due to its old-school feel while still being a modern facility.

Asked whether the circuit might evaluate the introduction of more grass and gravel traps to replace some of the copious tarmac run-offs, Epstein said he didn't see much point to it and that other circuits doing so are attempting to raise their own safety level.

"I guess we do it if someone tells us we need it there, but I don't see the need for it here," he said.

"I think these are old circuits that are trying to come up to modern safety standards. I think we are already there."

Additional reporting by RJ O'Connell

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 US Grand Prix

The latest news about the Turkish Grand Prix straight from Austin.

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