Spanish Grand Prix reverts to pre-chicane layout after FIA approval

2023 F1 season

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The Circuit de Catalunya will drop the unpopular chicane from the final sector and revert to its previous configuration of two fast corners for this year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The tight chicane was introduced to slow the progress of cars through the two right-handers at the end of the lap in 2007 and has been used by Formula 1 in testing and races ever since.

The Barcelona circuit has confirmed that this year’s Spanish Grand Prix will revert to the original pre-2007 layout, which will see drivers navigate the original turns 13 and 14, among a raft of modifications to the venue.

The chicane was originally introduced on safety grounds due to limited run-off available on the outside of the fast right kinks. While the chicane proved unpopular with F1 drivers and fans alike since its implementation, Moto GP continued to use the original final sector layout until 2016, when Moto 2 rider Luis Salom was killed in a high-speed accident at turn 13.

The chicane was installed in 2007 to cut cornering speeds
The circuit confirmed it will install TecPro barriers on the exit of the two corners to facilitate the revised layout. FIA Formula 1 race director Niels Wittich and FIA head of circuit and rally safety Stuart Robinson approved the layout change with the installation of the new barriers.

The circuit has been homologated both with and without the final chicane, meaning all FIA-sanctioned series have freedom to decide which layout they wish to use.

Among other changes to the circuit ahead of this year’s race, the run-off area on the outside of turn one has been widened, while the tall timing tower at the end of the pit lane has been modernised.

The Spanish Grand Prix will be the eighth round of this year’s championship, being held on Sunday 4th June, the third race of a triple-header following the Emilia-Romagna and Monaco Grands Prix.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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46 comments on “Spanish Grand Prix reverts to pre-chicane layout after FIA approval”

  1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    27th February 2023, 11:28

    Brilliant news

    1. This is good news, it could potentially give cars chasing a bit more of a chance at the end of the home straight now that cars can follow a bit closer!

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        28th February 2023, 7:55

        In 2007 that was literally the argument used to say that the chicane would help overtaking. In a faster corner, cars can’t follow closer.

        1. Totally agree it was the argument at the time. But these ground effect cars are different from 2007. They can follow closer at high speed. Out of the chicane the guy behind will be forever the second best getting on the power.

    2. Yes, finally!! So much better the original configuration. Much more exciting.

  2. Super excited about this! That chicane was arguably the worst piece of road in whole F1 calendar so glad to see it gone.

    1. It is good to see – absolutely. But surely the worst piece of road in the whole calendar is Monaco?

      1. @ahxshades Monaco surely isn’t. Yes it’s not good for racing but it’s extremely difficult for the drivers and brilliant to watch, especially for the spectators at the track. This chicane on the other hand has no redeeming features of any sort. There may be worse corners than it on the calendar but I can’t think of one at the moment

      2. Jose Lopes da Silva
        28th February 2023, 7:55

        I like Monaco

  3. The chicane was originally introduced on safety grounds due to limited run-off available on the outside of the fast right kinks.

    Meanwhile FIA had no problems with 300 kph Turn 13 in Baku, which has 0 run-off, with concrete barrier and 1 layer of tecpro instead. Logic!

  4. This is like a rollercoaster for track changes. First we need to slow the cars down so accidents will reduce. Then let’s make tracks more smooth going as it will benefit DRS. Then as the speed will increase so will increase the risk of accidents and then we need more artificial chicanes.

  5. I heartily endorse this development.

  6. I thought they might have ever-so-slightly tightened up turn 13 to facilitate this, but hey, if we get another Senna-Mansell ’91’ moment, this can only be a good thing for the track..

  7. Woooo!!! It took a while, but very thankful we got there in the end. I feel like we should set that chicane on fire or something to celebrate.

  8. AT LAST!!!!!!! The 2 best corners of the track have returned.

  9. Seems a good change to me.

  10. At bloody last. Taking away these two corners back in 2007 was arguably the worst decision ever since the modifications at Hockenheim. And it didn’t produce anything.

    I went to the track last year to watch some GT cars doing practice runs and we sat looking at the stadium part of the track. That bit before the chicane was so awkward looking, it’s downhill so you’ve got to go slower than you think otherwise you understeer off, and then you switch back to the chicane. It’s such a slow and uninspiring bit of track, I’m so glad it’s finally gone!

  11. Great, now tear the chicane out of the ground and grow some grass over it ASAP so they can’t ever reconsider.

  12. Aside from the welcome removal of the chicane, I think the most interesting aspect of this change for F1 will be the impact it has on tyre wear. The new fast corner will put further load through the left front, which already takes quite a bit of punishment elsewhere round the lap.

  13. Blimey, where has time gone. Was it really 2007 that came into place…so only Alonso on the grid ever raced it without the chicane in F1. Great news, and I guess the ever improved safety of F1 allows for some of these mickey mouse chicanes to disappear.

    1. @tsgoodchild and Lewis!

      Alonso is the only vestige we have of the “old” F1, with tobacco sponsorship, tyre wars and V10s!

      1. ah sorry, i misread it. Yeah, Alonso is the only one that raced it…

  14. What a shame, we can no longer predict who’s going to win the Monaco GP :)

    1. @tifoso1989 Ha! The fact that that was literally all it was good for. Aiding testing predictions – and not even for the same track!

    2. @tifoso1989

      Lmao.. that was the only plus side for sector 3 in Barcelona

    3. Now that it’s the week after Monaco, there was no point keeping it!

  15. I’m happy with this development, as long as it’s safe.

    The penultimate corner will have a bit of a upwards gradient before leveling down for the fast speed last corner that leads on to the straight. It might be a really interesting to see how drivers line up the overtake through these two corners.

    I hope they reduce the DRS zone to avoid purely DRS overtakes on the start finish straight.

  16. Rather would see this circuit taken of the calendar.

    1. At least it’s more exciting than Monaco…

      1. Not really.
        At least Saturdays are mildly interesting at Monaco.

  17. Great news. To replace that sequence of corners with the most Mickey Mouse of chicanes was an insult to the eyes every time you saw a car lumbering through there.

    1. So true. Every time Spanish GP is I couldn’t stand watching that ugly chicane and it burned my eyes.

  18. It’s about time!!! Now the race track will be faster and more exiting to watch and race in F1 2023 game. Best F1 news so far.

    1. Haha… Better to race in F1 23 is exactly what I thought too. I always hated that chicane in the game more so than when watching.

  19. FOM putting Imola, Monaco and Barcelona right after one another has to be the low point of the season in terms of race-able tracks.

    Still, this is better at least in so far as it removes three boring corners from the layout. Hopefully the current cars will be able to stick relatively close through the last sector and set up some genuine runs down the straight.

  20. Can they remove the Miami chicane as well please?

    1. Or the whole track please

    2. some racing fan
      27th February 2023, 22:29

      Yes and change a few corners as well?

  21. Good riddance to that terrible chicane!

    It won’t make a massive difference to the track but it’s going to be great watching the car fly through the last corner.

  22. Looking forward to the debrief from the Spanish GP with the comments sections full of “The racing still sucks at Barcelona with and without the chicane.”

  23. Can they now remove the Miami race track from the calendar as well please.

  24. No more chicane. Finally… Hopefully FOM/F1TV will consider using alternative camera positions as well…

  25. I’m happy, mostly because I’ll never have to drive that awful bit of track on a racing game again.

    Not convinced it’ll make the racing any better or worse, though.

  26. Hallelujah

  27. Finally! Better than this, was to remove it from the F1 calendar…

Comments are closed.