The French circuit of Paul Ricard has been re-surfaced during the night in order to improve the racing action.
It is not big news that, especially in F1, the races at Paul Ricard did not provide great action, and that is why many fans are not happy to have the French venue still in the calendar.
The aim is to allow the drivers to fight more on the track. To do so, almost 70% of the track, which is 5.8km long, has been re-surfaced. Plus, every corner except for turn 10, were affected by some changes.
The reprofiling of the track was assigned to an Italian engineering company called Studio Dromo. The same company that was in charge to make some changes both to the track of Zandvoort and Silverstone.
Dromo owner Jarno Zaffelli said: “We had the requirements to fix some corners from an asphalt perspective and while we were there, we said ‘OK, let’s do the maximum that we can do within the boundaries that we have’. It was more or less like Silverstone, we had to stay within that layout.”
“We applied the same methodology that we used before in Silverstone,” he explained. “We reprofiled all the corners that we basically resurfaced. The only one that was not reprofiled was turn 10, the other ones were just slightly changed.”
“Some things for the drainage, some things for the overtaking manoeuvres and so on. So the same cure that we tried to apply in Silverstone.”
Turn 5 has been changed a bit because of drainage purposes: now it has a crest in the middle. This change will be a challenge for the drivers because it lies right in the middle of the racing line.
Also turn seven has been changed a little bit to improve the grip and prepare better for a possible overtake in the next corner: “It is before a long straight, so the grip in that particular corner will be key for the speed arriving in turn eight and preparing the overtaking there,” explained Zaffelli.
The drivers should now find it smoother and easier to drive on it.
“Definitely they will feel it’s much, much less bumpy in the newly-resurfaced area. In the parts that we didn’t do it – mainly straights – they will feel the bumpiness that was and when they go in the black area they will feel much smoother than before.”
“They will feel some more support. For example, if you’re going into turn 11 they will feel more support. In the races that we had all around this year, they already said that in turn 11 they will feel it.”
Finally, the pit-entry was improved too, and a bump has been removed.
At the end of the works, Zaffelli was happy with the results: “When we arrived there, there was a [very] high amount of small refinements and tweaks that we can implement that we tried to do. The focus was really that at this stage. This was done and we were happy with the results.”