Skipping final chicane at Barcelona is not an option for F1 cars

Skipping final chicane at Barcelona is not an option for F1 cars

07-05-2021 07:30 Last update: 10:14

The Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona has been part of the F1 calendar for thirty years now and for this season the Spanish circuit has a small change. Turn ten is not a difficult and slow corner, but by changing it the organisation hopes the drivers will be able to maintain more speed towards the third sector.

In an exclusive interview with GPblog, the general manager of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Jose Luis Santamaria, explained they expect a lot from the change. “We have modified turn ten, so now it looks more like the historical one. Now it looks like how it was at the first Grand Prix in 1991. For safety reasons, we have modified the turn. The shape of the turn is more or less the same as the historical one and the track is wider," he said. 

What has changed?

Turn ten used to be a hairpin, but has now become a faster corner, with drivers not having to worry about gravel right next to the track. "The run-off lane is tarmac and then there is gravel. At the end of turn ten we also have a tech-pro barrier, which will improve safety."

The organisation has noticed in recent years that overtaking in turn ten is hugely difficult, especially for F1 cars, which normally already have a lot of trouble chasing each other. So they have been looking closely at how to improve the racing action. "Also the runoff area is asphalt and after that there is gravel. At the end of turn ten there is a barrier and we have improved the safety there. We see that the width of the track is wider than it has been last year. The braking won’t be as hard," he added.

More overtaking in Barcelona

"It allows cars to go side by side and this means another opportunity for overtaking in that area." After the 2020 race, there was some criticism of the race circuit. One of the possible solutions was to skip the final chicane and go straight to the final corner from turn 13.

Santamaria is strongly against that. "For Formula 1 cars that is no option. The track nowadays is permitted by the FIA and that is taking into account that there is a turn 13, 14 and 15. F1 cars are not allowed to go straight to turn 16. The permitted circuit is with the chicane," he reported.

More changes in the pipeline?

The circuit in the north of Barcelona has already undergone a number of slight changes over the years and Santamaria sees one more point for improvement that can be worked on in the coming years. "I think that the circuit is good as it is now. Something we will have to work on is the first turn and the runoff area there. Maybe this will be a change for the coming years. All the other things will be changes off the track, so everything is up to date with the current standards," Santamaria concluded.

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