Formula 1

F1 News: Spanish Grand Prix Drops Iconic Track Layout In Huge Change

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the home of this upcoming weekend’s Grand Prix, will have its chicane in its final sector removed, returning it to its original track layout from 1991 to 2006. The decision aims to increase speed and safety, offering more exciting racing moments for fans in the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix.

Originally added to help cars pass at the start and finish of the straight, the narrow and twisty chicane ended up significantly slowing down the cars by around six seconds. In the high-speed sport of F1, six seconds is a year.

The previous track design, characterised by two consecutive fast right-hand turns, proved more successful. In contrast, the chicane not only failed to create additional overtaking opportunities but also led to congestion during qualifying rounds.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MAY 22: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 leads Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 and George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 during the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 22, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202205220652 // Usage for editorial use only //

However, a press release from the FIA has turned the tables. The sport has decided to bid farewell to the chicane and revert to the original track layout used at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from its inaugural Grand Prix in 1991 until 2006.

This return to the old layout promises higher speeds and improved safety measures. New Tecpro barriers will be introduced to enhance driver protection, extending the track’s length by two meters to 4.657 kilometres.

With the revival of the familiar track design, fans can anticipate more exhilarating on-track action. The current generation of ground-effect cars, introduced in 2022 under new regulations, are better equipped to handle the fast right-hand bends in the final sector. Unlike their predecessors, these cars are less susceptible to turbulent air caused by leading racing vehicles, although this is seemingly getting worse as teams manage to add more and more downforce.

As the Spanish Grand Prix approaches, the Formula 1 community eagerly awaits the thrilling spectacle that the reimagined Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya promises to deliver.

Alex Harrington

Alex started racing at a young age so certainly knows his way around a car and a track. He can just about put a sentence together too, which helps. He has a great interest in the latest models, but would throw all of his money at a rusty old French classic and a 300ZX. Contact: [email protected]

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