‘Much better’? ‘Worse for overtaking’? Catalunya’s new turn 10 divides F1 drivers

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers had their first opportunity to tackle the new turn 10 at the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday.

The reprofiled corner prompted widely diverging reactions. Several drivers said they liked it, many were unconvinced and at least one preferred the previous, much tighter left-hand bend.

The new corner has been installed following joint work by the FIA and its motorcycle counterpart FIM. “It’s been 12 months in the planning,” explained FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi.

“It was originally discussed around this event last year and we’ve been planning, refining that and those works got undertaken over the off-season. And I think it’ll be interesting to see what effect those changes have upon racing for the weekend.”

The revision has brought the corner closer in style to the original turn 10. While F1 stopped using that corner in 2004, Moto GP continued to for many years. However following the death of Moto 2 racer Luis Salom in a crash at turn 13 in 2016, the FIM series switched to using the tighter corner, prior to the completion of the new design.

The revised turn 10 is being used by both categories. Here’s a selection of views from F1 drivers on their first experience of the turn yesterday.

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Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

“It’s definitely different. I really think in terms of racing, it’s not going to make a huge difference. The good thing is that in the exit there’s a couple of different lines you can take so you can kind of get off the dirty air of the car ahead instead of the old turn 10.

“But in that corner itself, overtaking could be a bit more tricky. So I don’t think it’s going to change a lot.”

Lando Norris

“I prefer the old turn 10. I don’t know what it’s like for racing. It’s still tricky, it’s a smaller braking zone. I don’t like driving it as much to be honest but it’s not my choice. It is what it is. ”

Max Verstappen

“I’ve been here before when they already changed the corner. I think it’s better for over one lap time, pushing. It’s a bit faster, a bit more enjoyable. But for overtaking, I think it’s worse.”

Antonio Giovinazzi

“I like that corner. It’s much better compared to the previous one. Of course, like I mentioned yesterday to overtake I think would be still difficult. But for driving is I think is better.”

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Daniel Ricciardo

“It’s one of those Tarmacs where it’s actually got high grip, but it needs to be kind of rubber in. So it’s still a little slippery, but it did grip up. So I think by tomorrow it will be quite nice to get into there.

“But it is kind of weird. You’ve got a certain asphalt and then you get into 10 and it’s something different. But I think essentially I like the corner. It’s different anyway compared to what we’ve always had. So we don’t really have anything to compare against either.”

Nicholas Latifi

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

“I actually like it quite a lot. I think for our car especially it’s definitely better.

“But even to drive it just seems to flow a little bit better. Not only the actual turn itself but the kind of way it flows into the next corner, which has obviously not really changed but the approach is different. It kind of changes the feel of the next corner. So I like it.

“Whether it’ll make much of a difference for racing I guess that’s still ‘TBC’. I think just because that is not the corner that leads onto the straight, it’s not really going to make much of a difference, unfortunately. But just to drive, I think it’s good.”

Lewis Hamilton

“It’s not as grippy as the other surface, but I think it will build up. I don’t really understand what the point was of the corner.

“I think it’s a lot, lot faster. But I’ve not been in a racing scenario with it [yet], so I can’t tell you if it’s going to be better for racing or not.

“The one before obviously was a dead stop, that was one other spot that you could potentially overtake but the straight was too short. So I don’t know.

“Hopefully, maybe it will allow us to follow closer maybe through that last section. And if it does, that means we can race better down the main straight.”

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23 comments on “‘Much better’? ‘Worse for overtaking’? Catalunya’s new turn 10 divides F1 drivers”

  1. I’m not a fan of it.

    They would have been much better off inverting it – wide, open entry into a late, tight apex. Would have really extended the braking zone and encouraged more overtaking/lunging at the late apex.
    Think Turns 14/15 at Fuji…

    1. @S I dislike Fuji’s chicane as it ruins lap flow a bit.

      1. The chicane at Fuji?
        That would be Dunlop, I guess? Turns 10/11/12…

  2. What I like about the corner is the gravel on the outside. We saw with Kubica anyone running off will be punished, that’s good. Of course we all wish they would do away with the last two corners but ok at least this section flows a bit better now.

    1. @john-h I agree completely – the previous one was far more forgiving.

    2. @john-h There’s gravel and there’s gravel. This is the useless stuck-immediately type, unlike the Imola type which you could actually drive out of.

      Having to stop the whole session because someone runs wide in a corner is borderline ridiculous IMO.

      1. I don’t necessarily think it’s the type of gravel that determines if you get stuck or not, I think it more depends on how you go in. If you go in backwards, like Kubica yesterday, Hamilton in testing Or Giovonazzi at Silverstone in 2019, it’s very difficult to get out. But if you go in forwards, or manage to keep some momentum, you can generally recover a bit easier. Although the gravel at Imola did seem to gain a very high number of casualties; I am very surprised they all made it out.

        1. @randommallard I would have thought it was more about the depth of the gravel

          1. Oh yeah that’s a valid point I had forgotten about @balue

      2. I just watched Norris drive out of it in FP3 @balue

  3. I’m inclined to prefer the new design as it has a slightly nicer flow plus a nearby gravel trap to punish mistakes as shown by Kubica’s off in FP2. The best of the 04-20 variant’s overtaking was seen before the 2017 aerodynamic changes, so I don’t the new hairpin will make a huge difference in terms of overtaking, if any.

    What’s really disappointing is that F1 is continuing to use that final chicane, which is, hands down, THE worst sequence of corners on the entire calendar – slow, clumsy, single file, and the negative camber actually makes it much worse for following than in fast corners. There’s a bit of a conflict as to why that corner was constructed for 07 in the first place – for better chance of overtaking into the first corner or for safety reasons?

    If they did it because of the former, then the last 14 races are hard evidence that it’s been a massive failure, so let’s assume it’s because of the latter due to a lack of run-off at the penultimate corner. I have noticed that the run-off is now much larger than before so that MotoGP could revert back to the original design in 2018. F1 now has absolutely no reason to run that chicane now. If they revert back to the fast two corners and there’s still no overtaking, then at least they’ll have a nice, fully flowing circuit to drive on, but I reckon F1 should give Motorland Aragon a go.

    1. @brickles Agree, but typical F1 to change something other than needs changing.

      I’m pretty sure that cambering up the old final corner would be much better for overtaking than the one now.

      1. It was changed for MotoGP @balue

    2. I would also love to see Aragon as well in F1. It might not be great for overtaking but it’s probably better than Barcelona.

      Alternatively, I really want them to get rid of that chicane as well. Whether it’s the worst corner sequence on the calendar is a bit more up for debate imo (start of S3 at Sochi provides good competition, along with the chicane at T5/6 at Abu Dhabi). I do like the new T10 though, I think it helps the circuit flow better, until that final chicance.

      1. @randommallard – I must admit I’d forgotten about T5/6 at Abu Dhabi.

        1. Nouvelle Chicane, Monaco.

        2. @brickles Don’t we all wish we could!

  4. At least nicer for driving, if not better for overtaking.

  5. I like the new T10. Cars are squirming coming out of it, and no one seems sure exactly how to take it. Hopefully it will help wear the tyres out so we get a 2 stop race, although that’s still not sure.

    1. I think the 1 stop or 2 stop debate will come down to temperature more than anything else. Air temp is supposed to be 23 tomorrow, so track temp will probably be somewhere around the mid 30s. Considering they have the hardest tyres on the spectrum I believe, then it is looking more like a 1 stop, but a 2 stop could very much be the joker strategy.

  6. If they want to improve overtaking into turn 10, they could slightly bank turn 9 so that it’s flat out even if your following another driver closely. Another idea to fix the final sector would be to move the final chicane up the track further, connecting it with turn 13 so that it become a right/left/right triple chicane like the Singapore sling but going downhill and much wider. That would make the turn 16, the final corner a bit faster again too, promoting more passes on the pit straight.

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  7. I like the new T10. It just fits a lot better into the flow of the circuit. The version they used since 2004 always felt really clumsy and unnecessarily slow (I hate driving it on Forza!). They wanted to create an overtaking opportunity where it was impossible to overtake anyway. The only cars that got overtaken there were either lapped cars or one’s with really worn tyres.
    The new corner won’t help the overtaking, but maybe the cars will be able to follow more closely into T12.
    I also wonder what will happen with the chicane, because today Alex Wurz said the GPDA asked the FIA if it was possible to homologate the circuit with the fast right-hander instead of the chicane for 2022.

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