Gilles Dufeigneux, the managing director of the French Grand Prix says that despite the chicane midway down the Mistral Straight at Paul Ricard being used, the speeds heading into the Signes corner at the end of the straight will still be in excess of 340km/h.
The French Grand Prix returns to the Formula 1 calendar for the first time since 2008 next season, with the race being held at Paul Ricard for the first time since 1990, with the full 5.8 kilometre configuration being used, with the chicane being used to break up the long Mistral Straight.
Dufeigneux believes the chicane will be important to give an additional opportunity for drivers to overtake, and after feedback from a number of Formula 1’s top drivers, the 5.8km configuration was confirmed.
“The FIA did some research and the speed before the chicane will be 343km/h, so the chicane is useful,” said Dufeigneux to Motorsport.com. “The chicane has been added to prevent the engines from running at full speed on a straight uphill line of 1.8km.
“We also wanted to facilitate the creation of an additional overtaking area. It will provide three straight lines where the cars can go at full speed before two massive decelerations – Turn 1 and Turn 8 and a flat out turn – Signes.
“According to the FIA, cars will reach 343km/h before the chicane and 343km/h at the apex of Signes. The drivers have told us the chicane will probably be an opportunity for non-DRS overtakes during the race.
“We presented the new configuration of the circuit during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend to several drivers including Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. They liked it and said the 5.8km configuration was a nice option.”