The chicane at the back straight on the Circuit Paul Ricard is proving to be an annoyance to F1 drivers. So, they want FIA to remove it so it could improve racing at the returning French Grand Prix.
The changes mooted cannot be made this weekend as the cars have already been set up for the original track layout and the FIA is yet to gauge how the Turn 10 chicane will be affected if it were to be implemented.
Brendon Hartley, currently driving for Toro Rosso in F1, has tested a LMP1 Porsche car at the circuit before and he was of the opinion that using the full back straight would better chances of overtaking.
“I think a long straight line will potentially create more overtakes. I don’t think it will happen for tomorrow, but I’ve tested and raced without the chicane”, Hartley told Motorsport.
“It makes things interesting because it’s less downforce with the long straight line, turn 10 becomes more of a corner, and so does the last sector with less downforce.”
“Maybe it is a good discussion point for next year. The good news is here there are plenty of options”, he explained.
Another driver who was against the chicane was Force India’s Sergio Perez. “We asked Charlie [Whiting, FIA director] about this, to improve the overtaking, to improve the show and make it more interesting”, he said.
“I think the best race we have had up to now this year has been in Baku and all the tracks should be taking some direction from that. The circuit is challenging, it pushes the drivers for mistakes”, the Force India F1 driver added.
The pit entry and exit is also tricky which has resulted in the pit lane speed being reduced to 60 km/h from 80 km/h. Lewis Hamilton was critical of the track as he felt that the lack of ‘reference points’ was a hindrance for drivers.
But all drivers were not so cynical. Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg stated that the circuit was a bit problematic but they got used to it once they put in a few laps.
Hulkenberg said, “You have so many different track layouts and all these colours alongside the track. But after a couple of laps, you are getting it.”
The circuit has not hosted an F1 race since 1990 and there were bound to be some problems with it. But the words of Hulkenberg and Ricciardo seem to not make the issue serious. It remains to be seen whether the FIA deems it serious enough to change it.