Paul Ricard boss says Mistral straight chicane will boost overtaking

Paul Ricard boss Stephane Clair has defended the decision to use a layout that includes a chicane on the straight when the French Grand Prix returns to the circuit in 2018.

Paul Ricard boss says Mistral straight chicane will boost overtaking
Aerial view of Circuit Paul Ricard
Aerial view of Circuit Paul Ricard
Paul Ricard Circuit ambiance
Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing RB11
Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 Hybrid with 2017 Pirelli tyres
Christian Estrosi, president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region speaks
French GP press conference signage
French GP press conference signage

The French circuit announced earlier this month that it will host the French GP in two years' time, in what will mark the return of the event after an absence of nearly 10 years.

Organisers said the layout that will be used will include a chicane on the famous Mistral straight, a decision that was not popular with the fans.

But Clair believes the inclusion of the chicane will actually add another overtaking point, this enhancing the spectacle.

"There are several possible Grade 1 layouts, some are shorter, there are many solutions. This one looks like the most interesting one for the show, in our eyes," Clair told Motorsport.com.

"Keeping the full straight doesn't make sense, no interest for Formula 1 – in a few seconds, the cars reach full speed, so there's no point keeping them at full speed on the whole straight, there's no point for the show or the driving.

"However, using the chicane will create another overtaking opportunity and a big braking – more spectacle.

"That's rather what we aimed at, knowing that exiting the chicane, they'll be flat out through Signes anyway, which will probably make it the quickest corner of the championship."

He added: "We talked about it a long time ago with the F1 world, that's the most logical layout. However, if there are particular requirements because of the rules in 2018, regarding DRS zones, we'll be happy to take these into account.

"But this layout makes the most sense for Formula 1. F1 often comes here, it isn't the layout they use in testing now, because they don't need such a long one, but for a Grand Prix, we find it rather interesting."

Clair also made it clear that the sprinkler system used by Paul Ricard to carry out wet-weather testing was not suitable for use during racing, in case F1 were to decide it wants to race on artificially watered tracks.

"No, let's be realistic. The watering system doesn't work with the cars on track anyway, so you need to water the track and then have about 20 minutes of running with a consistent water level. This wasn't made for competition."

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