The first ‘fake’ gravel trap in Formula 1 will be in use at the Dutch Grand Prix as Zandvoort looks to keep the on-track action going.
Just days after Max Verstappen’s dominance of the Belgian Grand Prix, focus has now already turned to the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, part two of Formula 1’s triple-header.
Zandvoort returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2021, a year later than scheduled, with Verstappen taking a comfortable win on home soil.
The Dutchman is firm favourite to make it back-to-back wins at the venue, which this time around will be looking slightly different.
As revealed by Motorsport.com, a new invention will be in play for the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix weekend down at Turn 12, the left-hander which serves as the second part of the Hans Ernst chicane.
Behind the kerb, a ‘fake’ gravel trap has been installed, which entails the stones being held in place by a resin, so that they will not move out of place. This caused red flags in the support races last season as drivers going wide deposited gravel onto the circuit.
But it is expected that this ‘fake’ trap will deter drivers from going wide, due to a lack of grip should they get onto that surface. If anyone goes wider than that, then they will be into the traditional gravel trap at that corner.
“To avoid gravel getting on the track, they have made the first metre look like gravel – but it’s actually a bit like tarmac,” said Dutch GP sporting director Jan Lammers during a preview event with title sponsor Heineken.
“You can’t really use it: it’s too slippery and bumpy for cars. But at least it avoids getting all kinds of debris on the track, so it’s a nice development for other tracks.”
This is not the only change at Circuit Zandvoort, as having shied away from the idea last season on safety grounds, the FIA this time around is set to trial in FP1 the of enabling DRS through the final banked corner, thus extending the DRS zone by around 300 meters.
Lammers feels that the banking will not be the main challenge with DRS open, but instead, drivers need to be wary as the track drops away upon exit.
He expects to see more “white knuckles” then with this DRS change, with the aim of creating more overtaking opportunities into Turn 1, Tarzan corner.
“This year the corner is going to have your attention,” Lammers told Motorsport.com. “Arriving with your DRS open and with 20km/h plus extra speed, it makes for a lot of outbraking chances into Tarzan corner.
“When you come out of the banking it is 18-degrees, so when you go through the banking it is relatively easy.
“But when you come back to the straight and also go down the hill with a bit of a bump, whereas last year it was easily flat, it will now certainly have your attention. I think we will see a few more white knuckles than before.”
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