Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Paul Ricard, 2018

Paul Ricard would be “a lot better” without Mistral chicane – Bottas

2019 French Grand Prix

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Removing the Mistral chicane from the longest straight at the Paul Ricard circuit would make the French Grand Prix venue “a lot better”, says Valtteri Bottas.

Formula 1 used the full length Mistral straight when it first raced at the track between 1971 and 1985. However when the championship returned to the track last year the race organiser chose to use a chicane to divide the straight between turns seven and 10. A grandstand has also been built by the corner.

But Bottas said the track would be “a lot better without” the chicane when asked by RaceFans, saying it would create a better overtaking opportunity.

“It’s a track that – I’m sure there are many tracks that are much more difficult to overtake [at] than here – but I think it would make the track a bit cooler in a way. A super-long straight, there would be some really nice overtakes at the end of the back straight and very high speeds. So I think that would be cool. But now there’s a chicane and we go around it.”

Following last year’s return to the track race director Charlie Whiting said drivers’ opinions on removing the chicane would be sought. Although the track configuration cannot be changed for this weekend, Bottas said he would consider raising the subject at tomorrow’s drivers’ briefing. “I’m sure other drivers will do,” he added.

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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...
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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  • 19 comments on “Paul Ricard would be “a lot better” without Mistral chicane – Bottas”

    1. So, cooler, but maybe not better for racing with current cars then?

    2. If cooler is the goal, then turn on sprinklers. Just not when Seb is under pressure.

    3. He’s not wrong & I know most the drivers feel the same. It’s an awful chicane that really breaks up the flow of an otherwise relatively fast & flowing circuit.

      Removing the chicane would also more than likely not have a negative effect on the racing as the tow has always been pretty powerful down that straight (And current cars produce a strong tow anyway, Look at Baku for instance) so we would get some good slipstreaming battles down it & if there side by side at the end they should be able to stay like that through Signes which then has a decent overtaking spot into the next corner.

      If anything removing the chicane would lead to better racing.

      1. Don’t understand the problem with the chicane for us viewers: I remember seeing a lot of overtakes right at the entry of the chicane. Let’s see how it pans out this weekend.

        (I understand why the drivers like the long straight more, better flow)

    4. I agree. They should at least try without the chicane for one season at least even if it would then be brought back for the following season. The removal of the chicane should’ve been done for this season already given that it was suggested in the equivalent briefing twelve months ago, and yet still not, so, therefore, I’m not too hopeful it’d be any different this time around even if the idea were brought up again. Utilizing the full length of the Mistral straight would also bring in the added challenge of teams facing a set-up headache similar to Baku and Spa concerning the speed/straight-line speed ratio.

    5. As the article mentions, this was suggested last year and they did nothing. This awful, and that chicane really doesn’t help.

    6. Any racetrack for F1 should start with a long straight and then design around it. It’s the only way overtaking and decent racing can happen. They should remove the chicane and move the grandstand to the end of the straight on the outside just before the fast right hander.

    7. Long straights are boring, a DRS snoozefest, keep the chicane and make the drivers work for the passes.

      1. But a long straight without DRS? Pure slipstreaming? Surely worth something.

        1. Azerbaijan is a slipstream city.

    8. They should have tried it out for this years race and see how it goes.

    9. Can someone explain to me why everyone hates DRS? I understand it gives the follower a significant advantage, but man, if they didn’t have DRS with these cars there would be very few passes.
      Plus in my view it is all the lead up corners without DRS that a follower needs to get exactly right in order to be in a position to make that pass. In the end the good drivers in the better set up cars are the ones making the pass so what’s the problem? Would people prefer the faster car just got stuck behind them for 50 laps (still happens sometimes anyway..).
      It’s not like it’s some arbitrary boost like that ridiculous social media Formula E thing..

      @jerejj – yes i totally agree with your Baku comparison. If we at least have some interesting setup challenges it can mix up the order a bit..

      +1 for ditching the chicane

      1. @dazman Because it’s an artificial gimmick that often creates boring push of a button highway passes that are far too easy & completely devoid of any interest/excitement.

        I would much rather see fewer real overtakes that are actually exciting to watch than dozens of boring DRS highway passes that often aren’t.

        It’s quantity at the expense of quality.

        I want to see proper racing & real overtaking & I see DRS as neither & in the past where it’s been a total DRS-fest with no genuine overtakes it’s made me simply turn off the race which is something I had never done before this silly gimmick was introduced!

        It’s a horrid thing & should be banned asap, just a shame it now seems we may be stuck with the silly thing beyond 2021 now despite it been sold to fans as something that would only be around 1-2 years.

    10. @dazman – we hate it because it’s promotes unfair racing & fake overtakes. I understand the dilemma and your point so if we have to have these systems for now or the future at least try and do it in another way to see what happens. I would consider awarding DSR time for attack and defend so more strategy comes into play and remove the one second rule and since F1 is increasingly more about the show with silly gimmicks you could even take it one step further possible give more attack time for drivers that qualify higher up the grid. Whilst we have these silly thermal deg tyres that every team nurses heavily they should trail some GP’s where teams have to run all three compounds in the race to force the two stop strategy.

      1. @ming-mong yep I understand it’s all a bit fake but if it wasn’t available many races would be all but un-watchable with these cars and as you say – these tyres.
        I do like the idea of some sort of timed DRS reward system though. Like if you do you personal best 2 laps in a row you unlock 2 laps of DRS. This way the driver being chased could possibly access it as well..
        In the end though it would be another gimmick right?
        They have to do something about these tyres. Only a few teams seem to have been able to get them in a decent operating window and it’s killing race day for all the rest.

        1. Agree that it is fake and yes, I really dislike it, on principal.
          Having said that, it does seem to do several beneficial things.
          It motivates drivers to stay clear by at least a second, it gives drivers in marginally faster cars a contrived opportunity to overtake and it hasn’t been as bad as was first predicted.
          An aspect I have not seen occur is where one driver uses DRS to overtake and the overtaken driver returns the favor on the next lap. The multiple swapping of places does not seem to have happened even though the “experts” predicted it would.

          1. @rekibsn

            and it hasn’t been as bad as was first predicted.

            i disagree i think it’s been just as bad & at times far worse than what was predicted.

            1. @roger-ayles a penny of proof for this thought? Or is it just how you feel?

            2. @riggerus My biggest fear when they announced it was that we would have good racing fights ruined by push of a button easy, uncontested overtakes and we have seen plenty of those over the years so for me it has been as bad as i first feared.

              everytime one of those easy highway passes happens it just brings my interest in the race and the sport in general down a notch. there have been cases where the ease of which drs has made things has seen me turn races off which is something i’d never done before and i just don’t feel the same passion for the sport that i used to and the gimmicks like drs and the comedy tyres are a huge reason for that.
              A lot of my family & friends also used to be f1 fans & every year we used to make the trip to Montreal & sit in the stands down by the hairpin, we haven’t been back since 2013 and several of them don’t watch anymore and the gimmicks are a big part of that.

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