Esteban Ocon, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Sainz eager to try “old-school” final two corners instead of chicane at Catalunya

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says he’s eager to try the original, high-speed configuration of the final two corners at the Circuit de Catalunya.

A chicane was added in 2007 to slow the cars through the old final two corners. George Russell recently told RaceFans he believes F1 would produce better racing at the corners if they were removed.

Sainz isn’t convinced removing the chicane would “change massively” how easily drivers can pass each other. But he is eager to give it a try.

“[Even] if it wouldn’t change massively then I would prefer the double high speed corners. Why? Because I just feel it is the old-school version of the track, it’s what I grew up watching and what I really enjoyed from this track, these last two corners.

“Since the chicane was introduced I don’t think the overtaking really improved and I don’t think it really helped the overtaking. So I would better just go for the most fun version for the driver and probably also for the fans.”

It is possible restoring the track to its pre-2007 form could aid overtaking, Sainz said.

“I think the racing has changed since back then. I think now we have DRS and maybe the DRS power would be a bit more powerful if you exit that corner a bit quicker. Potentially maybe a bit more tow effect, a bit more DRS effect could facilitate overtaking. So I don’t know, but I would love to try it.”

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Fernando Alonso is also sceptical that removing the chicane would make overtaking easier.

Turn 10, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021
Feature: Catalunya’s new turn 10 has more gravel run-off and “historical” shape
“Probably as a driver you would prefer to have the two fast corners, just to maximise the potential of the Formula 1 car and the aerodynamics” he said. “But if it was changed a couple of years ago there was a reason behind and I guess that reason is still applicable now.

“I’m happy to race with any configuration but I guess there is a logic why we are racing in these last corners and the small last sector. So I’m happy to keep that.

“I don’t think that the racing will change much because you cannot follow really closely in the last two corners anyway in any of the configurations. So I don’t think that will have a huge impact.”

Alonso also doubts the changes which have been made to turn 10 this year will have much of an impact on the race. “I don’t think that it will change much,” he said.

“I don’t think that it’s going to be a huge impact on the lap time, on the set-ups, on the overtaking possibility. I think it’s pretty similar. So it should be quite transparent, I think, from the outside or from the spectators point of view.”

Sainz said it isn’t clear year whether the revised, more open corner will help or hinder drivers in their efforts to stay closer to rivals and overtake them.

“In the past turn 10 was obviously very difficult to follow a car in front just because there was only one line,” he said. “There’s a strong point that maybe having a wider line you can place your car a bit different compared to the car in front and get a bit more clean air.

“But at the same time it’s a higher-speed corner which we will feel a bit more the downforce loss as we follow. One thing might compensate the other but let’s try it first and do our comments on Friday.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

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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7 comments on “Sainz eager to try “old-school” final two corners instead of chicane at Catalunya”

  1. You are not alone Carlos!! Those last 2 ‘proper’ corners were the only thing that was interesting about the circuit. I remember a schumi qualifying session from the early 2000’s when he was literally on the ragged edge round those 2 to get pole, and it was spectacular. And the 2004 cars were only a touch slower than the current cars, so the ‘safety’ card being used for these corners is nonsense. Turn 1 at Catalunya is rarely an overtaking spot anymore and thats due to the current mickey mouse chicane. Please for the love of you know who Liberty, please go back to the original layout, especially if you want to keep going back to Barcelona!!!

    1. GUBSTAR !
      I SECOND YOU !
      just: they won’t do :-(
      The moment we fans state a wish, the powers in charge do the opposite :-(

    2. 100%! That chicane should never have been designed in the first place.

  2. if not the original layout why not redo the chicane to be like a shallower corner as the current mickey mouse chicane is very clunky so for instance move corner 14 back towards 13 a bit and make it a faster flowing chicane

  3. I also prefer the pre-2007 version driving-wise, even if it wouldn’t be or isn’t any easier for following.

  4. It would work if it was cambered

  5. It’s all about overspeed (1Second atleast) without this no overtaking.

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