F1 drivers want Las Vegas track surface to match “gold standard” Jeddah


The new surface has been made trickier by the fact that there are no support series laying rubber down in Las Vegas, and because the public street section is reopened to normal traffic for most of the day, leaving it dirty for the start of F1 action.

Daniel Ricciardo suggested that greater efforts could have been made to create a grippy surface that more closely resembled that of the Saudi Arabian GP venue.

“I think the surface is one thing us drivers haven’t loved,” said the Australian. “It’s hard when obviously it’s a street track, it’s public roads.

“Obviously, they’ve got machines that they could use to kind of like blast the circuit, get the stone out a little more I guess, and make it a little more abrasive.

“On our wish list, maybe we wish it was like a little bit more of a Saudi level of grip, because that’s really good for kind of a street circuit. So that’s probably the only thing that I haven’t loved is that kind of slippery feeling. Otherwise, it’s been alright.”

Russell stressed that the Jeddah track allowed drivers to use multiple lines, which improves the racing.

“Jeddah is the gold standard of track surfaces,” said the Mercedes driver. “We’ve been saying this for many years now. We’ve been to a number of tracks where they’ve resurfaced it, or new tracks, and the grip has been really poor, and there’s only been one racing line.

“Whereas in Jeddah the whole width of a circuit is very good grip. They’ve done an exceptional job there. That’s what we want.

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

“I think it was in Miami in the first year at least you couldn’t go off the racing line, there was no grip, and that doesn’t offer any racing. I think it’s been a challenge here in Vegas, because we’ve been the only cars on track too.”

Fernando Alonso also highlighted the role that the surface could play in the quality of the racing.

“I don’t know why they don’t copy the asphalt that we know works, like in Saudi or some other circuits,” said the Spaniard.

“Because that could maybe change the fun that we have behind the wheel and maybe the overtaking tomorrow. We will not be able to go offline and this kind of thing. So it’s sad.”

Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola acknowledged the drivers’ concerns, but downplayed the comparisons with Jeddah as the sort of treatment used there is not practical for Las Vegas.

“That’s a consideration that I share with them,” he said. “In Jeddah they made this very aggressive treatment with high pressure water. It’s a sort of artificial ageing.

“The treatment they did in Jeddah is ageing the tarmac by two, three, four years. If you remove the bitumen on top, then it’s a completely different situation.

Photo by: Erik Junius

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23

“That cannot happen here because part of the track is open to road circulation and obviously, you have to respect some parameters that are for the normal streets, and some other parts are not open, but obviously you have unique consistency across the circuit.

“So if you do this treatment, then it’s difficult after the race. You should put a new tarmac again, but I don’t think is in the plan of the promoter.”

Additional reporting by Alex Kalinauckas

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