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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Albon: Losing chicane that "ruined" Barcelona F1 track will improve racing

The “perfect” removal of the final chicane that “ruined” the Spanish Grand Prix lap should pave the way for more overtaking, according to Williams Formula 1 driver Alex Albon

Alex Albon, Williams Racing

A return to the previous high-speed final sector, last used by the championship in 2006, has shortened the lap by 18 metres. The change was conceived to boost overtaking possibilities.

This comes amid complaints of stale racing so far this year, claims that have been exacerbated by shortened DRS zones in Miami and Azerbaijan and teams using robust hard tyres to execute one-stop strategies.

But Albon says the removal of the “ugly” final chicane, which previously denoted Turns 13 to 15, will help overtaking by allowing drivers to take differing lines to boost the spectacle.

The Thai-Brit said: “The removal of the chicane is going to help [Williams] a little bit more.

“Those three corners were always a bit of a tricky one for us. We'd always lose quite a lot of lap time through there. So, getting rid of that is perfect.”

Albon reckoned the chicane “ruined the rest of the track” so all drivers were in favour of it being scrapped. He added that it would make Barcelona one of the “easier” tracks for passing.

The Spanish GP chicane was never popular with drivers

The Spanish GP chicane was never popular with drivers

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

He continued: “I think it's really good. I don't know a driver who's been negative about it.

“It was always a bit of... I don't want to call it, an ugly piece of work. It was tricky. It ruined the rest of the track because the flow was just so different to before. It's great.

“More than anything, it's the racing that I hope is going to improve.”

“Coming from last year, you could always stay pretty close through [Turns] 10 and 12. You can always find a bit of clean air if you went in tight through 10 or wide through 11, you could always offset the car in front.

“But once you go through 13, 14, 15, it was always single file. You had to copy the same line. I reckon it's going to be one of the easier overtaking tracks we go to this year.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said he was “mega excited” for the change and recalled his painful previous experience on the higher-speed layout while testing for McLaren in 2006.

He said: “I’m mega excited about driving around this track. This is one of those older, ‘classic’, circuits - one that I’ve always enjoyed.

“I do remember testing here in 2006, my first test in Formula 1 with McLaren. That was two or three or four days of the high-speed last corners and I couldn’t hold my head up…

“I’d come in and be like ‘No, my neck is good’. I was just in so much pain, struggling to sleep at night.

“I hope that we’re able to follow with the cars that we have a bit better through those last two corners now that we don’t have that little Mickey Mouse chicane.”

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