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Formula 1 Bahrain February Testing

Spanish GP drops final sector chicane for 2023 F1 race

This year’s Formula 1 Spanish GP will run without the chicane in the final sector for the first time since it was introduced in 2007.

Barcelona circuit, chicane overview

The change will ensure that the lap finishes with two fast corners, as it did in the past, and the hope is that it will allow cars to follow more closely onto the straight and encourage overtaking.

The new version of the track measures 4.657kms, compared with the 4.675kms of the previous iteration with the chicane.

The removal of the chicane has been in discussion for some years, and the key was to get FIA approval and homologate the track with the revised layout.

The change was considered by former F1 race director and circuit safety chief Michael Masi before his departure.

“It's something that we've been looking at for a little while,” Masi said in 2021.

“It's obviously not an overnight change that can be done, and having a look at all of the implications and unintended consequences that may come about.

“Like all of our circuits and different corners and everything, we work together with the teams, the drivers and F1 in ensuring we've got the safest venue, but also something that promotes good racing.”

A change became a serious prospect at the end of 2022 when circuits bosses made a serious push for it.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

The work has subsequently been cleared by current F1 race director and safety delegate Niels Wittich, and Stuart Robertson, the FIA’s head of circuit and rally safety.

Among the requirements was the addition of Tecpro barriers on the outside of the last two corners.

The circuit has now been homologated both with and without the chicane, and it is up to event promoters to decide which configuration they would prefer to use.

In additional work at the track the run-off at Turn 1 has been extended. The circuit noted in a statement that “a first phase of works has already been completed there, which has enlarged the area with 70m of gravel and a slope of approximately 5% and has installed a new FIA fence protecting Turns 1 and 2, thus significantly improving the safety of the drivers and riders”.

Further work is still being carried out in the area and will be finished by next month, but it won’t affect the use of the track in the interim.

The circuit has also replaced its iconic electronic scoreboard tower with a more modern version.

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