Bumps have long been a problem at COTA due to the instability of the terrain on which the circuit is built, a situation made worse by heavy rain and flooding that impacted the 2015 F1 weekend.
The dips were a cause for concern during the last F1 event of 2019, when a surface rectification was undertaken after Friday’s practice and again after Saturday’s qualifying.
However, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel suffered a suspension failure in the race, which his team then attributed to the bumpy track.
Some areas were subsequently resurfaced during the winter of 2019-20.
COTA boss Bobby Epstein told Motorsport.com ahead of the works: “Actually, we will close the track for most of December and mid-January to fix the problems. We did some of the repairs last year before the start. MotoGP, so I wouldn’t say we have to redo everything. “
“It will certainly involve the entire opposite straight, the pit exit and part of Turn 1, then there is a hump before Turn 9, but also Turns 18-19. So it will be a fairly extensive job.”
Despite this effort, the bumps remained an issue in the recent MotoGP Grand Prix, in which riders complained all weekend, and issued an ultimatum, saying they wouldn’t be back next year if the work required to raise safety standards.
Motorsport.com has learned that the most recent work was done without the supervision of a specialist, which means that the work was not done correctly.
MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo called the fund “a joke”, while the riders confirmed that the circuit will be resurfaced from turn 2 to turn 11 – which was the minimum requirement they had required to race again at COTA in 2022.
Michael Masi, Race Director
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
F1 race director Michael Masi said he kept in close contact with the MotoGP governing body, the FIM, in order to gather accurate information on the areas highlighted by the MotoGP riders.
The circuit was subsequently visited on behalf of the FIA by seasoned American racing official Tony Cotman, who oversaw the design of several IndyCar circuits.
“I was on the phone with my FIM colleagues all weekend while they were in Austin to get a real understanding of the whole situation,” Masi said.
“And what we have actually realized is that since the 2019 F1 event a large part of the circuit has been resurfaced to counter some of the problems we saw two years ago.”
“The areas that the motorcycles have raised issues on are areas other than those that have been resurfaced. And Tony Cotman, who is one of the FIA circuit inspectors, was in Austin during the week, and made a report.
“The circuit is making some changes to address some of the concerns. They will try to smooth out some bumps and so on. But there is little time to do that, so they do what they can.”