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Why Formula 1 uses the final chicane at the Spanish GP in Barcelona

It’s not clear why F1 uses the final chicane at the Spanish GP instead of the outside track. How long ago did Formula One begin using the current layout for Grands Prix?

The Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, the home of the Spanish Grand Prix, is the only race course in the world that Formula 1 drivers are familiar with.

Wothappen understand that the annual race, the circuit is also utilized for pre- and in-season testing.

A variety of high, medium and low-speed turns provide teams a sense of how their car is performing in this racetrack.

This year’s Spanish Grand Prix track’s last chicane, Turns 14 and 15, has become a hotbed of debate since it was built in 2009.

Why does Formula One use the final chicane at the Spanish GP – when the old track layout is on the outside?

Spanish GP final chicane

It wasn’t until 1991 that Barcelona became a permanent fixture on the Formula One calendar after the series had previously been based in several locations across the country.

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An extremely fast downhill double-left-handed bend was originally part of the final lap configuration.

Until 2006, when Fernando Alonso became the first Spanish driver to win in the race’s history, this was the track’s configuration from 1991 through 2006.

The final turn of the lap was completely redesigned for 2007.

In a bid to keep the cars close together and try and promote overtaking down into Turn 1, a final chicane was added to the Spanish GP venue.

It is a tight, low-speed, left-right complex, with cars often riding the kerbs to find lap-time.

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The old track remains on the outside, but the FIA frowns upon drivers using it if they need to bail out of a fast lap.

The problems in using it

Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya has always proved to be a difficult one for overtaking, but the final chicane at the Spanish GP has not had the desired affect.

Cars often get strung out through the chicane, making it difficult to be in a position to attempt an overtake down the main straight.

If the cars were to take to the old layout, a slipstreaming effect down to Turn 1 may be created and potentially improve overtaking.

However, that particular layout does not currently hold FIA Grade 1 status – something required by a layout before it can be used on a grand prix weekend.

The final chicane can also cause traffic problems during on-track sessions, especially in practice and qualifying when drivers back-up to try and find some clear air for a lap.

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