Paul Ricard’s chicane will make overtaking difficult – Bottas

2018 French Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas suspects the chicane on the Mistral straight at Paul Ricard will make overtaking difficult in this weekend’s French Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver, who raced at the circuit during his 2010 Formula Three Euroseries campaign, believes Formula 1 cars need to use the full-length Mistral straight to have the best chance of overtaking.

“We think it’s going to be quite difficult to overtake here,” he said. “Honestly, I think that if we didn’t have the chicane in the middle of the back straight there would have been some opportunities there, with the long towing.

“But [as] the track is now I think it’s going to be quite difficult so qualifying will be very important.”

Qualifying will “be close again”, Bottas predicted, “but there are quite a lot of unknowns.”

“The track has got a new surface, at least in some areas, so we need to react quickly with the car set-up on Friday and on Saturday to be on top of it.”

Paul Ricard’s unusual all-asphalt run-off has attracted complaints from some drivers including Carlos Sainz Jnr. However Bottas says there are deterrents to stop drivers from running wide.

“For sure it’s been proven this is better for safety. But I think we drivers are a little bit crazy in the way that we like to be punished when we make a mistake.

“I think you cannot be very aggressive here with the kerbs, because you can damage the car and that will be the limit for us. There is always a limit, sometimes it’s a kerb, sometimes it’s Tarmac, sometimes it’s gravel. We need to drive within the limits and that’s it.

“It’s how this track is, I still want to race here, no matter if there are walls or Tarmac run-off areas, I still love it.”

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9 comments on “Paul Ricard’s chicane will make overtaking difficult – Bottas”

  1. OK stating the bleeding obvious, remove the chicane. If the drivers feel it will make passing easier and maybe make racing more exciting with out introducing unexceptionable risk…go for it.

    1. Without the chicane would they travel faster than in Baku? Guessing its a misguided safety measure to have it so why not remove it? Would be no more dangerous than Baku.

    2. He’s just saying that because it’s better for Mercedes. Everyone has an agenda in F1.

      1. He wants the full straight for more advantage? He wants an Alonso style Lemans slam dunk….Pirelli have already brought their special Merc spec tyres.

      2. @sihrtogg Exactly.

        It’s not like T10 (after the mistral straight) invites overtaking, that’s a flat out bend and will be difficult to follow other cars through closely, so T11 isn’t an overtaking opportunity either. The net result of removing the chicane would just be more straight to profit from for Mercedes. At the very most it might induce DRS assisted overtaking halfway down the straight, well before any braking zone. So yeah. No.

        1. @jeffreyj, as others have noted, why would it be to Mercedes’s advantage when the trend in the opening races has seen Ferrari generally tend to gain time down the straights relative to Mercedes? If anything, increasing the length of the straights would potentially be more favourable for Ferrari than Mercedes.

      3. How would this be better for Mercedes? Ferrari have been the better of the 2 on the straights all year.

  2. Does anyone have anything positive to say about this circuit? Granted the layout looks poor on paper and hasn’t exactly proven itself in the past, but it’s a little harsh that all these criticisms are rolling in before the edited circuit has even been raced.

    1. @kimiraikkonen1207
      Speculations galore from all sides.
      Although we must take the words of drivers seriously. Good number of them have raced on at least one of the 167 different configurations of the track. But of course, the asphalt is new. They would have had their walk ‘n’ talk trips around the circuit. From what they say , i dont think we can hope for an exciting race as such.
      Let’s just soak it in like we did in 2016 with Baku.

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