The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1
The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...
Let's face it: Paul Ricard is not a particularly good Formula 1 circuit – at least, for modern cars. The finicky nature of the opening sector often relegates the field of drivers into operating in a single file, and although the Signes and Le Beausset corners towards the end of the lap are challenging long-radius corners that reward bravery on the throttle, they also offer a different problem. The much-maligned 'dirty air' produced by modern racing cars often forces the car behind to wash out and lose grip, and drivers can only attempt to mount overtakes at both with a significant tyre advantage.
That, and the plethora of abrasive strips lining the circuit's perimeter are headache-inducing. Ultimately, they're a legacy of the circuit's days as a "high-tech test track" - providing a huge safety net for drivers suffering a slight lapse in concentration as they pound around the circuit for hours at a time. Those strips will peel some of the tyres' best days away from them but, given the run-off apparently extends into the horizon, do so in return for keeping the car out of the wall.
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