Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2018

Prost says Mistral chicane doesn’t belong at Paul Ricard

2018 French Grand Prix

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The last driver to win a Formula 1 race at the Paul Ricard circuit says installing a chicane on the Mistral straight has robbed the track of its identity.

Prost won the 1990 French Grand Prix for Ferrari on a version of the track which used a shortened Mistral straight. It was his fourth win at the track, the first of which came on the full-length configuration.

“For me the identity of this track is without the chicane,” Prost told the BBC. “It makes the whole track very different because you have to run much less downforce.”

Lewis Hamilton said the famous Signes corner at the end of the straight can easily be taken flat-out due to the approach speed and downforce levels being used. Prost says removing the chicane would change that.

“Obviously it would be very fast,” he said. “Signes wouldn’t be a corner completely flat [out]. So it is different.”

Several drivers have criticised the chicane but Prost pointed out the organisers believe it will create an overtaking opportunity.

“They wanted to do [the chicane] for a place where you can overtake. Also for the grandstand for the spectators.

“You always have good reasons, it’s difficult for me to criticise. But if the drivers have to say something it’s good they can also express an opinion.”

Prost said he is “not very optimistic” Sunday’s race will provide much excitement. “I just had a long discussion with Pat Symonds and Ross Brawn about the future. We know that we are not in the best situation about the show.

“Sometimes something happens and you don’;t know why we have some good races. It depends a lot on the tyres and the way you use the tyres.

“If everybody does the same strategy it’s going to be a boring race. If they do a different strategy… that’s why I’m really in favour of changing the tyres and having more choices and more freedom with the tyres.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Prost says Mistral chicane doesn’t belong at Paul Ricard”

  1. I fully agree with him.

  2. Funny thought: for 50 years nobody cares to design tracks and we had good races; people became track designer, very little good came from it.

    1. James Coulee
      23rd June 2018, 14:26

      Maybe they weren’t specialized superstars, but the tracks were designed with intent even back then. The difference to today is that they only had to care about making it challenging and interesting.

      1. The tracks where based on existing roads.

  3. Maybe what Lewis once mentioned should be taken more seriously. . .the more experienced drivers should be given an opportunity to have a more significant input when tracks are designed. . .

  4. They mentioned on Sky yesterday that another reason the FIA wanted the chicane was because the DRS system relies on a driver lifting off the throttle or braking to ensure it’s deactivated.

    Drivers can manually close the flap but they didn’t want a situation where drivers were trying to take signes flat with DRS open. Same reason they never allowed DRS before Eau Rouge & eventually moved away from allowing drivers to use it everything in practice/qualifying.

    The top teams may have enough downforce/grip to manage it but as you go further down the grid it becomes less possible but the advantage doing so would give may see mid/back of grid drivers feel forced to try it which could lead to big accidents.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      23rd June 2018, 16:27

      @stefmeister No DRS for the full Mistral straight. Problem solved.

  5. I nominate this track to be one of the ugliest, and most garish displays of idiocy, with wide blue lines defining the track.
    It detracts from the racing because it is so overpowering to the eyes.
    Now Max has even more areas to pass on.

  6. AJ (@fifthlion)
    23rd June 2018, 16:14

    The only ones complaining about ‘the show’ of F1 are teams, commentators and F1 bosses. Most fans just want a close championship season, I have never expected every race of an F1 season to be an overtaking bonanza but I do want, above all else, is a final race championship decider between two or more teams.

  7. Agreed. The track would become so much more interesting without that chicane. Can’t see many overtakes into it. Not sure what the organisers were smoking if they thought this would create more opportunities.

  8. If the organizers of this race and the owners of Paul Ricard are serious about making it the home of the French GP, they need to put some effort into reverting this back into a racing circuit, rather than a just a test track with some grandstands. Otherwise I don’t think this race will last. The blue painted runoff have to go, it’s a track that’s up to safety standards ,but below F1 level presentation.

  9. The Professor is correct, no chicane. The blue and red run off colours need to go as well- it looks terrible. At COTA they paint the red, white and blue but its done in style and looks good- this looks like…………. well not sure. I was hoping with some improvements on this circuit and a good race but not so sure now, but here’s hoping…….. and doing a rain dance in my lounge room for good measure :)

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