Motorsports

Austin bumps were ‘on the limit’ for F1, says Ocon


F1 headed to last weekend’s United States Grand Prix expecting a tough time from the bumps, in the wake of complaints having surfaced about them during the recent MotoGP event there.

But while the bumps did not trigger any safety concerns for the F1 drivers, they did cause multiple headaches for teams.

For as well as forcing some suspension and ride height setup compromises to ensure the cars could ride the bumps, the repeated violent impacts also took their toll on the machinery.

Red Bull was forced to make a repair to a hairline crack that it found on Max Verstappen’s rear wing while a number of cars – including Ocon – suffered failures on Sunday that could have been caused by the bumps.

Asked by Motorsport.com whether he felt the bumps were acceptable for a modern F1 track, Ocon said: “I think they are on the limit.

“They are on the limit for reliability and I think [if they go] a little bit more if we come back next year, and it’s another step, then I think the cars will start to really face issues.

“When you go slow it is not a big problem, but once you start going fast and it’s big hits on the floor, on the suspension, the engineers start seeing red alarms and high loads.

“That’s obviously not something that we should see. So I think the track needs need some work for next year.”

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Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin admitted that the bumps had not been easy to work with, but said his outfit had been bracing itself for bigger trouble.

“It was quite tricky, and very difficult to say if that was a bigger issue for us than the Red Bull,” he said.

“I think the Red Bull had a stronger rear end here and, when you are overheating [the tyres] and bouncing around like that, rear grip is your friend. I think that is an area where their car seems to be performing very well.

“But we were probably braced for bigger issues in terms of car set-up and damage with the bumps, and it seemed to cope with it reasonably well.”


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