F1 to discuss idea of dropping Paul Ricard chicane with drivers

Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting will discuss the topic of dropping the Mistral Straight chicane from Paul Ricard's track layout for 2019 with the drivers in Austria on Friday

F1 to discuss idea of dropping Paul Ricard chicane with drivers

At the same gathering in France last Friday many of the drivers supported the idea, initially raised by Carlos Sainz Jr, that racing would be improved if the chicane was dropped.

Drivers who had raced or tested without it in place argued there would be more slipstreaming on the longer straight, and that with the lower downforce levels the teams would use, Signes corner at the end of the straight and the rest of the track would be more of a challenge.

One extra complication for the latter is that grandstands are located at the chicane, and they would become redundant.

"It was a joint decision," said Whiting. "It was what was proposed by the circuit, and we saw no reason to say anything different.

"We wanted to have two long DRS zones, which appeared to work quite well on the back straight.

"There appears to be now a school of thought that we could have done without it, but all the teams and drivers have known about that for a long time.

"The teams have tested on that track, so I was a little surprised to hear that come out of the blue on Friday."

Before approving any change for 2019 the FIA would first have to analyse the safety implications of the higher speeds at the end of the straight.

"We can certainly do a simulation of the long straight and see if the run-off area is sufficient and that sort of thing," said Whiting.

"I would also like to hear the drivers' opinions now they've had a chance to race on it.

"We saw a few decent overtakes there, which I doubt we would have seen otherwise.

"But it's a matter of opinion, and I'm happy to discuss it with all concerned. We can kick it off [on Friday].

Asked if he would agree to a change if the run-off area was deemed to be sufficient he said: "If there's a strong enough argument to do it, yes."

Sainz was adamant that the track would be more interesting for drivers and fans without the chicane.

"I've seen Formula 3 races here and endurance racing without the chicane, and the track looks really cool," he said.

"I said it would give the track a character which at the moment it doesn't have, and I said everyone would talk about the straight of Paul Ricard and that turn at the end of the straight like everyone talks about the straight in Baku and the braking into Turn 1.

"It would also give good slipstreaming, and a lot more difficult last sector with less [downforce] load.

"It would be good fun and I think the FIA will consider it for next year."

shares
comments
Sebastian Vettel surprised by wind-assisted French GP recovery

Previous article

Sebastian Vettel surprised by wind-assisted French GP recovery

Next article

Fernando Alonso hopes McLaren's France F1 misery is not 'normality'

Fernando Alonso hopes McLaren's France F1 misery is not 'normality'
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021