Ecclestone says chicanes are unnecessary

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says chicanes are 'silly and unnecessary', following the opening lap accident that claimed the life of a marshal in last Sunday's Italian Grand Prix

Ecclestone says chicanes are unnecessary

The marshal, 30-year-old Paolo Ghislimberti, was struck by a flying wheel and died from head injuries following a multiple collision under braking for Monza's Variante della Roggia chicane involving the Jordans of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari and David Coulthard's McLaren. Pedro de la Rosa's Arrows was also involved after a second collision lower down the field.

As the performance of F1 cars continues to spiral, chicanes have been a relatively simple way of reducing speeds, but Ecclestone says that they do more harm than good. F1 cars brake from 205mph down to 70mph in just 100m for the Variante della Roggia, and from 210mph to 50mph at the preceding Rettifilio chicane. The bunching of the field under heavy braking combined with the funnelling effect as it enters the chicanes means that first lap accidents are almost inevitable at a track like Monza.

Talking to British journalists, Ecclestone said he wants chicanes removed from every Formula 1 circuit and replaced with single corners that would still slow the cars, but without funnelling and bunching them.

"Chicanes are old hat. They are silly and unnecessary," he said. "One very slow corner, rather than two making up a chicane seems a better idea. We have got rid of them at many circuits and now I would get rid of the rest of them if I had my way.

"I don't think chicanes have a place in F1 these days," he added. "They have been artificially put in on very fast straights to slow cars. That's fine, as it is much easier for a driver to kill himself at 200mph than at 100mph, but we must not have situations where we create accidents."

Ecclestone has also questioned the effectiveness of gravel traps. Last year, Michael Schumacher broke a leg after spearing off the track at Silverstone's Stowe corner and hitting a tyre barrier. Although the gravel trap slowed Schumacher's Ferrari from 110mph to approximately 70mph, Ecclestone believes a more effective solution should be used.

Work on abrasive surface which scrubs off speed while allowing a driver still to steer has been completed and Ecclestone wants to see it installed at circuits in place of gravel traps.

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