Red Bull Ring Completes Work On Chicane After Turn 1 Aimed At Improving Safety

The Red Bull Ring, home of the Austrian Grand Prix at Spielberg, today announced that they have completed construction of a chicane between Turns 1 and 3, aimed at improving safety for motorcycle racing around the Austrian track. The change was deemed necessary after the horrific crash at the Austrian GP in 2020, when a collision between Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli through Turn 2 saw their bikes carry on through the gravel and cross the track after Turn 3, narrowly missing Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales as they exited Turn 3.

The solution devised by track designer Hermann Tilke, is to add a chicane, consisting of a sharp right and a sharp left about a third of the way along the straight between Turn 1 and Turn 3, just before the start of the fast kink which is Turn 2. The idea is to slow the bikes significantly on the approach to Turn 3, to prevent them from crossing the track in the event of a crash.

The work was extremely constrained by the terrain of the Spielberg track. The circuit is built on a hillside, and the section between Turns 1 and 3 climbs up a steepish hill flanked by a dirt bank leading on to a low hill on one side, and a steep slope on the other. Making room for the chicane meant digging out a section of the hillside to lay asphalt.

Although the chicane should slow bikes on the approach to Turn 3 by drastically reducing their exit speed out of the chicane, the new layout is not without its problems. Riders still exit Turn 1 over a blind crest where riders are prone to crash, and the braking zone for the chicane also includes the possibility of a rider losing the front on entry and their bike sliding across the track in the first section. The blind section out of Turn 1 is not the only problematic area. The exit of Turn 3 is also blind, as we saw when Dani Pedrosa crashed there in 2021.

The change will only be used for motorcycle racing. The F1 car series will continue to use the original layout.

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Comments

a tough situation and a necessary safety concern that had to be addressed.

But...

...meh.

Never been to the Ring, but why would the pre-chicane danger not apply to F1? 

Did once years ago. High nose put a nice big hole into the side of another car, into the cockpit. No injuries. Sort of like Rossi vs Franco's bike but with worse timing.

Words indicate the bikes leave the track to the right, then jog back. Pix seem to indicate the new chicane exits track left, then crosses over, then cuts back left and right to get back onto the old pavement. Am I misreading something?

Yes you are in the sense that David only describes the chicane itself which consists of a sharp right followed by a sharp left. But you are right in your view that the track first takes a slight sidestep to the left to create the space for the said chicane.

... was all I needed to read to know I would hate it.  :D

Respect for the work carried out with snow on the ground and whatever, but I don't see a huge improvement.  The old layout saw the track veering left then cutting right, bikes would go off to the right and nail traffic after the right turn.
The new layout is exactly the same.  The only thing perhaps being the speed is going to be 150k's slower, but the bikes running off to the right will skid along the nice low friction bitumen of the normal layout, thereby not reducing speed before hitting traffic cutting back through the chicane.

I must be missing something.

At least here they can put up some sort of barrier to catch/stop a bike skidding towards the middle part of the chicane.

I believe the first sector of Circuit of the Americas is far more dangerous in that respect…
Le Mans after the Dunlop bridge shows a similar potential risk.

Is it cynical of me to say if this circuit was owned by anyone other than Red Bull that it would be dropped from the calendar? Many close walls (don't forget we have an artificially narrowed exit onto pit straight to keep bikes off that wall), ability for bikes to re-cross the circuit post accident (which this should hopefully rectify) but we also have an entirely different spec of brake here, making it harder on them than even Motegi. I know with 300hp we're at risk of outgrowing many circuits, but this is an uninspiring layout with real safety concerns for these bikes, and now we've got a stop start chicane (the bane of glorious older tracks anyway) added into the mix. I hated watching the double races here the last few years (aside from BB33) and I can't say I'm looking forward to it any better this year, now!

so Tilke's genius solution was to install a tight chicane - what a surprise! I hate it already.

Only good thing about this is that they can dig it up and put something better in it's place for next year .

And why always Tilke ? do they have shares in him or something ???  because he's not that good at this stuff .