Russell suggests removing Barcelona chicane to improve races

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Recently appointed GPDA director George Russell believes that removing the chicane before the final corner at the Circuit de Catalunya would go a long way towards improving the racing at the Spanish track.

The 23-year-old Williams charger replaced last month former Haas driver Romain Grosjean as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association whose members help F1 improve the sport’s safety but also the show on the track.

And Russell is happy to represent his colleagues through his role with the GPDA and promote better racing in F1.

“Good races attract more fans,” said the Williams driver, speaking to RaceFans. “It shows F1 in its best light.

“The racing probably hasn’t been good enough as a whole over the past probably 20 years to be honest. Maybe not pure enough either.

“The times we see good racing is when there’s a big tyre delta between the cars, otherwise you just can’t overtake or race.

“[We’re] trying to find a way that we can propose and put forward almost like a target letter towards F1, towards Pirelli, say this is what we need from the cars, this is what we need from the tyres, this is what we need from the circuits to promote good racing.”

And when it comes to boosting the entertainment in Barcelona, Russell reckons the fans would get more of their money’s worth if F1 scrapped the chicane before the Circuit de catalunya’s final Turn 16 corner.

“The circuit offers pretty poor racing and the races there are always pretty dull,” contended Russell.

“On the whole, we think that if the circuit were to return to the last two corners that there were 15 years ago, the two fast corners, you’d actually be able to follow slightly closer, you’d be coming onto the straight at a higher speed, the slipstream effect will be greater all the way down to turn one.

“For the fans, you’re seeing the cars a much higher speed. For the drivers, you’re going round an incredibly quick corner, which is exciting. It’s a win-win. And that’s an easy fix to a circuit that is pretty poor.”

However, the process of changing a circuit configuration isn’t as straight-forward as Russell suggests, as any changes would require a new inspection and homologation from the FIA.

“It’s not quite as simple as saying ‘right, let’s change this circuit and revert’,” added Russell. “But this is something that could be done as of next year.”

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