Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Formula 1 Spanish GP

F1 drivers fear unintended consequences of Barcelona track changes

Formula 1 drivers reckon overtaking in the Spanish Grand Prix will not increase from the return of the high-speed final sector, despite that being the intention behind the modifications.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04

For the first time since 2006, the championship will cut out the oft-maligned low-speed Turn 14-15 left-right chicane and will revert to the two high-speed open right-handers to complete the lap.

This has increased the final-corner apex speed up to 170mph, with the aim being to allow drivers to follow more closely onto the main straight to slipstream and mount an overtake.

While single-car running during Friday practice returned rave reviews from drivers about the changes to make the lap faster, they do not expect said tweaks to do as conceived to help passing.

With a perceived lack of overtaking so far in 2023 partially blamed on the Pirelli tyres being more limited by overheating rather than degradation, AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries reckons that will again be a major factor this weekend.

He said: “Let’s not take to conclusions but obviously the main reason for the change is for better racing. 

"I'm not sure whether that will provide us with better racing… the left front suffers a lot.

“The duty on the fronts is just tough. You can feel it now, during a long run when you're behind other cars that it's so difficult to follow.

“Now there is a lot of emphasis on the front axle whereas previously, there was a bit of both… They did [the changes] with the right intentions, let's put it that way.”

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

De Vries reckoned it was possible to push for two laps before “you’ll pay the price eventually” from taking too much out of the tyres.

Drivers also cited the 2023 cars for exacerbating fears that the revised Barcelona lap will not lead to increased overtaking. 

Despite the switch to ground effect having been intended to help cars follow more closely, the rate of development over the winter has increased levels of dirty air. Drivers have commented that it is noticeably harder to follow this season compared to last. 

Read Also:

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas told Motorsport.com: “Faster is always more fun. [But overtaking levels] are going to be the same. It's difficult to follow in the last corner.

“It's just faster, but I don't think it's going to improve overtaking. It's slightly bumpy over there.

“So, there's a bit of movement, which makes it more challenging, but it's quite a cool corner. It's super high-speed. Definitely a bit more challenging but also for the tyres.

“It feels like the tyres are going quite a lot through those two corners.”

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Ferrari: "Tough" sidepod switch about long-term F1 development opportunities
Next article Hulkenberg says P3 in Spanish GP practice showed "genuine" F1 pace

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global