Miami changes get mixed reception

Organisers of the combined ALMS/CART weekend at Miami introduced a modified circuit that went some way toward addressing the complaints registered by drivers in 2002. The new layout was faster, with a 91.951mph pole speed, up 16mph from last year. But the 1.15-mile street course still came in for criticism for its bumpiness.

Miami changes get mixed reception

"I wouldn't even call this a racing track - it's something else," remarked Mika Salo. "I don't think these cars are meant to be here. The circuit is unbelievable - it's short and it's bumpy and it's very narrow. There will be no overtaking in the race - qualifying will be 99 percent of the race.

"I did a couple of rallies in Europe and really, I've never seen anything like this before," he added. "If Formula 1 came here, they would refuse to race. They would just pack up and go home. It's a shame because Miami is such a nice city and I'm sure they could build a decent circuit here."

Salo called the bump on entry to the final hairpin turn "a ski jump", something that Newman/Haas team-mates Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais did not dispute.

"I told the engineers that if we do 130 laps here we'll have to throw the tub in the garbage because for sure it's going to be cracked," said Junqueira. "It's basically the same track but all the corners are a little different. Only two corners are the same as last year - the fountain and the left-hander after the fountain. But if they don't do anything about the bump in the last turn, a lot of people are going to crash.

"The track is tight and difficult, but it's much, much better than last year. At least we got rid of that 30 mph stretch through the parking lot. If they can improve the huge bump in the last corner it would be a good step forward. That's the biggest bump in the championship."

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