One of the things you’ve heard Paul and I discuss several time on our podcast is that the reason Spa Francorchamps is such a great circuit-apart from its length-is that it is perfect in its imperfections and that’s what makes it so fun to watch.
The recent resurfacing of the Barcelona circuit may have added an additional challenge to comparing last year’s times with this season’s testing but Lewi Hamilton says the track improvements have robbed the circuit of its character.
“I’m not quite sure why they do resurface [certain tracks], I think it’s a waste of money in general,” he said.
“The older the surface, the more character there is in a surface.
“If you smooth the thing out, you lose a lot of the character that a track like Barcelona has.
“I always relate it to a house. A brand new house has got no character, but if you go and buy an old house, it’ll always have a little bit more history and a little bit more character.”
Certainly, you don’t want anything potentially dangerous with regards to drain covers, potholes or outrageous bumps but tricky asphalt (or as my friend Mr. Steve calls it, bitumen) can be a challenging part of a circuit as Lewis points out.
“I like a track that is a bit more dated in terms of surface. You go to drivers’ briefings and there are constantly complaints of bumps, but you can manoeuvre around bumps and you can brake a bit off line, or you have to set the car up to deal with it better in terms of ride.
“But that’s where the character of a circuit is – you flatten it all out and it’s got a bunch of corners but it’s missing something.”
Of course, there could be other reasons that are completely understandable as to why the circuit resurfaced the track as other racing series compete there and who know? Maybe two-wheel racing is tenuous on the old surface or other reasons exist but Lewis’s point is well taken and I tend to agree with him.
Hat Tip: Autosport
Character’s all well and good, but, eventually, “character” becomes “pothole”. Ask Daytona about that one. :P
Yea let’s put them on real streets with crowns, cracks and yea some rought surfaces with questionable patches. You know like we all drive on every single day.
Yeah sure, but also the development of cars has also something to do with it. Look at Silverstone – Becketts and Stowe – they now take them flat out, where’s the fun in that.
Does this mean Hamilton is considering a switch to the WRC to experience more characterful surfaces? Good on you Lewis, hope you do better than Kimi did.
No, I don’t think he is considering a switch to WRC, it was just one of his brain farts in between writing music and doing fashion show offs and punk-ing around.
The resurface was done for MotoGP. As for Catalunya losing some of its character. It lost its character when they added the left-right chicane and stopped the fast sweeping final turn after 2006.