After all the debates concerning track limits since the beginning of the season, FIA race director Michael Masi has very carefully explained what the FIA is going to monitor this weekend.

The corners incriminated ar no others than turn 1,2, being the quick ‘right-left’ at the end of the pit-straight, and turn 13,14, and 15, constituting the last chicane that is raising so many debates around itself because it is widely considered as the specific part of the circuit that is making it so difficult to overtake in Barcelona.

Concerning turns 1 and 2, the point of questioning lies in the fact that this rapid sequence can be missed very easily, if you miss the apex of turn one, for example, you probably have two options left: either braking or cutting turn 2. Formula 1 drivers usually prefer the second option.

The FIA, therefore, had to tighten the possibilities for a driver that would cut turn 2 and implemented a very specific scheme, for the drivers to follow, to rejoin the track safely.

“As we’ve had here for a number of years, particularly missing the apex of Turn 2, so if you go off-track at Turn 1, or before the yellow sausage at the apex of Turn 2, you need to go all the way along and then rejoin the track safely after the second bollard that’s out there,” Masi said.

The race director also specified that the lap-times incriminated will be deleted. Moreover, this mistake might end up in a penalty if any driver crosses the limit more than twice.

“That’s been an evolution year on year, and the same principle that we adopted there last year. So those lap times will be deleted.”

“For someone that goes off there twice during the race, a black-and-white flag will be displayed, and the third occasion, then a time penalty may be applied by the stewards.”

About turn 13, 14, and 15, the main concerns of the FIA lie in the fact that drivers used to free themselves from the constraints of the last chicane, in order to avoid a driver that would compromise a qualifying lap, using the ‘outer’ layout of the circuit (light grey part on the top right of the picture).

Left part of the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya. Credits: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (Twitter: @Circuitcat_eng)

The problem is that it would also allow them to get a better impulsion and gain an illegal advantage over their rivals. This is now strictly forbidden, except to get themselves out of the way of another driver.

“A lap time achieved during any practice session or the race by leaving the track and failing to negotiate Turn 13, 14, and 15 by using the track, will result in that lap time and the following lap time being invalidated by the stewards,” said Masi.

“The drivers can use that outer loop, and they try to use it, particularly to get out of the way to not unnecessarily impede someone in qualifying.”

“But it was also noticed that in using that loop, you could get a better run onto the circuit and start your qualifying lap in a much faster manner. That was something that we had here last year, and particularly became prevalent during qualifying.”

“So that was why we found the compromise that if you do use that outer loop, that lap time and the following lap time will be deleted for exactly that purpose. But we don’t see that being an issue other than really during qualifying.”

Hello there! My name is Thibault and I am a French motorsports fan. Hope you'll like my articles :)