Alpine's Esteban Ocon has urged for some changes to be made to the barriers at Turn 14 of the Miami International Autodrome, following his crash in third practice. The French driver lost the rear of his A522 negotiating the corner and slid off into the concrete wall, registering an impact of 51G – hard enough to crack his chassis and rule him out of taking part in qualifying two hours later. Ocon is set to start Sunday's race from the back of the grid, having been granted permission to compete by the stewards. But Ocon has made the point that the relatively minor incident shouldn't have had such ramifications, and said a better solution to barrier cushioning is required at the corner – the same spot where Ferrari's Carlos Sainz crashed during second practice on Friday.
Ocon explains 51G crash
"[I'm] clearly disappointed to be sitting here at the moment, and not taking part in today's qualifying, so I have to apologise to the team," Ocon said afterwards. "It clearly was my mistake. I lost the rear in the corner and hit the wall. It was a big impact, [I] hit 51G on that one, so we have to make a chassis change and that's going to take place tonight, ahead of tomorrow." Pointing out that he felt his car was capable of performing well - Fernando Alonso qualified 11th in the sister machine - Ocon said the slow pace of that section of track shouldn't have led to so much damage. "What is not really acceptable is that we discussed with the FIA, Carlos, and raised the point in the drivers' meeting [on Friday], that we need to put some kind of cushion in that corner, because he got hurt yesterday, I got hurt today," Ocon said, referring to his knees and Sainz's neck. "51G – you feel it, definitely. It's quite a slow place on the track and we hit a concrete wall, so [I'm] not too happy about that. I think the FIA should push harder for the safety [there]."
No changes planned for race day
RacingNews365.com understands there is no intent from the FIA to make any barrier changes at Turn 14 ahead of the race on Sunday, such as installing Tecpro. Faced with an uphill task of starting the race plum-last, Ocon outlined what he hopes to achieve once the lights go out to begin the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. "[The plan is to] definitely to do a strong race; I think that's going to be the aim – to come back into the points," he said. "I think a lot can happen around here. We've seen it was tricky to get around. We've already got marbles and stones. But we have a car which is capable of doing so."