Brendon Hartley, Paul Ricard, 2018

Paul Ricard is better without the chicane – Hartley

2018 French Grand Prix

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Brendon Hartley says the French Grand Prix organisers should omit the chicane when Formula 1 returns to Paul Ricard next year.

The Toro Rosso driver raced on the full-length Mistral straight when he competed in the European Le Mans Series five years ago.

“I definitely prefer the track without the chicane,” said Hartley after practice today. “I think it’s also the original or one of the original layouts that’s been raced many times before.”

Hartley says having a longer straight would improve racing by forcing teams to run less downforce.

“A long straight line could potentially create more overtakes,” he said. “But I don’t think that will happen for tomorrow.

“I’ve tested and raced with the layout without the chicane. It makes things interesting because it’s less downforce with the long straight line. Turn 10 becomes more of a corner and so does the last sector with less downforce because of the long straight line.

“So maybe it’s a discussion point for next year but for right now we’re doing this layout.”

Hartley also tested extensively at Paul Ricard during his time at Porsche’s World Endurance Championship team.

“The good news here is there’s plenty of options. There’s hundreds of different options on this track. I’ve done a lot of testing with the long straight. I prefer it, personally, I think it’s got a bit more character and a bit more history as well.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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  • 9 comments on “Paul Ricard is better without the chicane – Hartley”

    1. That’s one ugly track. I understand there are the huge run off areas because the track is used as a test track, but the vast areas of asphalt and the painted lines certainly detract from the appearance and make it harder to watch. Put in some grass!!!!

      1. It’s a fine circuit. Much better than Magny Cours or any tulkedrome. They just should ditch both chicanes. They should use 1A, instead of 1C-V2 configuration. First chicane is 120-meter wide. It’s a joke, not a chicane.

        1. They should definitely use the 1A layout. The chicanes are hideous around there.

    2. I would like to see all of the chicanes at all of the tracks re-evaluated for there effectiveness. The cars have changed immensely since most of them were put in. I think that part of the problem with the lack of exciting racing is that the tracks have not evolved with the cars.
      I understand and absolutely agree that when tracks are designed/redesigned safety must be at the forefront. But the designers need to be mindful of not designing all of the fun and excitement out at the same time. I think in at least some cases over the years track designers and owners have succumbed to external pressure and have become over cautious. I would like to see more input from the drivers to help fix this.

      1. @johnrkh – very nice comment. To what you’ve alluded to, this must not be viewed as reducing the safety of a track, it is just reassessing whether specific on-track safety features have now outlived their usefulness and are hindering the racing.

    3. I couldn’t agree more with him. Hopefully, that’d be done for next season. Nevertheless, it’s worth to go at least one race with this layout to see how the quality of racing is going to be, and then maybe try without the chicane next season for the purpose of comparing.

    4. It was brought up on Sky yesterday that they need the chicane there because without it there wouldn’t be a way to ensure DRS is deactivated before signes as DRS is closed when drivers brake or lift off.

      Davidson felt they should just let them try & go through signes with DRS open if they felt they could but it seems the FIA were less open to that idea.

    5. Full length Mistral straight and the fast version of the S de la Verrerie chicane. Please make it happen.

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