Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Monaco, 2019

Track limits clarified for Monaco’s chicane, traffic lights to control escape road

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Formula 1 has tightened the track limits for Monaco’s Nouvelle chicane ahead of this year’s grand prix, where an unusual traffic lights system will again be used.

The ‘new’ chicane, built in 1986, is a regular point of contention as one of the few realistic opportunities to overtake at the track, and one where drivers can easily gain an advantage by cutting across its low kerbs.

In line with practice at other tracks this year, drivers have been told their lap time will be cancelled if they “[leave] the track and failing to negotiate turn 10 by using the track”.

During the race, drivers will be at risk of a penalty if they repeatedly cut the corner. Any driver who does so twice will be shown the black-and-white flag, and further violations will be reported to the stewards. However they will escape any sanction if they are deemed to have been forced off the track by a rival.

Although these arrangements were not detailed ahead of the last race in Monaco, two drivers were penalised for cutting the chicane. Lance Stroll was found to have bypassed the corner and given a five-second time penalty, and Kevin Magnussen received the same for missing part of it while dicing for position with Sergio Perz.

If any driver makes it as far as the corner’s escape road this year, they will only be allowed to rejoin the track when given permission to do so by the marshals. As in previous events this will be communicated by a traffic light operated by a corner worker.

Monaco track map
Monaco track map

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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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17 comments on “Track limits clarified for Monaco’s chicane, traffic lights to control escape road”

  1. Drivers ‘will escape any sanction if they are deemed to have been forced off the track by a rival’ will have to be clarified during the briefing, which I assume it will be. This has after all been the main point of controversy in previous races, given how it’s nearly impossible for F1 drivers to navigate the chicane two-wide. Drivers who cut the chicane after they’ve been pushed wide, which is the standard move in F1 these days, will probably end up staying ahead.

    1. For Example, Lewis missed to corner in 2019 but was forced to evade by Max. This is allowed
      Cars could be next to each other but that must be very fast driver diving in the inside and keeping the corner and giving the other still room…

      1. @macleod Another mitigating factor was Max also leaving the track in the process.

  2. Why won’t Masi use the same approach he applied last season for Bahrain’s Outer Loop chicane and Yas Marina’s pre-hairpin chicane? Allow leaving the track when letting someone past without impeding and making sure no advantage comes out of it, i.e., essentially on a slow lap. Lap time invalidation for the sake of it is redundant, especially as no one leaves the track at the post-tunnel chicane on purpose, except at max when letting someone by while doing a slow lap in practice or QLF. Drivers most definitely don’t cut it on a flying lap unless by mistake, in which case they always voluntarily abort a fast lap anyway, meaning zero advantage lap time-wise. An overtaking situation in the race is a bit different, but for time, no problem.

  3. “However they will escape any sanction if they are deemed to have been forced off the track by a rival”.

    It is almost impossible to overtake at Monaco, and the ONLY way to do it is to throw it up the inside and basically barge a rival out of the way. With this ruling, drivers will simply do as Hamilton smartly did in 2017 and 2019 and open the steering, avoid the corner, claim to be ‘forced off track’ and retain their position.

    I liked the look of the lightweight barriers they had here in the Formula E races. Seemed to be an encouraging deterrent to drivers cutting the chicane without compromising safety.

    The track limits discussion is such a mess…

    1. In fact looking again at the Formula E barrier at the chicane it is absolutely the solution. The barriers could be foam, perfectly safe for a driver to pass through in an ‘out of control’ accident scenario but enough of a deterrent to promote more caution into the braking zone or forcing drivers to bail out altogether and use the escape road.

      It’s very rare for drivers to go head first into the barriers at St Devote. Why? Because there’s a wall there so they a) approach with more caution, and b) bail out if they get it wrong. The chicane should encourage the same approach.

    2. @aussierod Exactly. Not to address this is poor, but what we’ve come to expect from the new Race director. A no-ruling here is basically ruining the only overtaking opportunity on the whole track. Shame.

  4. Meanwhile, in other parts of the track the limits will be controlled by Mr Armco and he is not subject to any dispute.

    1. Martin Elliott
      19th May 2021, 14:52

      Grosjean managed a 25/75 score against Mr Armco in an area where cars weren’t meant to crash!!

      Have FIA reviewed/revised the specification? Where there any recommendations from the Accident Panel. Seen a press release but no formal report or summary. In fact no investigation report (~20 a year) has been published since the JB summary, 6 weeks after the accident.

    2. Maybe we should compare how many times drivers ran wide at Piratella during the Imola GP weekend to how many times they do the same at Tabac this weekend.

      Mr Armco rules, he really does.

    3. Ahah, indeed!

  5. Am I the only one that hopes that one day the F1 cars will go straight from the tunnel exit to Tabac?

    If I had the money, I would buy and demolish the 2 stores in that corner and build a gravel beach with Tecpro barriers just for the sake of it.

    1. ady (@sixwheeler)
      19th May 2021, 18:34

      There has to be some sort of left-right kink onto the road next to the harbour, into Tabac. If you carry on straight, you end up facing the wrong way at Saint Devote

      1. @doctorlovesexy
        No space for creating a runoff area, so approaching Tabac w/o chicane would be unnecessarily risky.

        1. I know, that’s why I want to buy Tabacs Sainte Dévote, Ubaldi Electro Monaco, Caffé Milano and Häagen-Dazs, the 4 business located in that corner (google maps). Just to create i bit of runoff.

          More seriously, the F1 drivers can go flat out in blind corners later this year in Jeddah at 270 km/h or the fast chicane before the long straight in Baku but can’t drive Tabac without the nouvelle chicane?

          1. Runoff and Monaco do not belong in the same sentence

  6. They must remove the nouvelle chicane (turns 10,11) to allow a long DRS staright (from the tunnel to turn 12 – tabac) just like in Baku otherwise overtaking is almost impossible in this race and it becomes unsportsmanlike and boring race.

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