Flins-Mureaux: France’s Tilke-free track

Flins-Mureaux F1 circuit design

Flins-Mureaux F1 circuit design

New details about France’s potential new F1 track have emerged at Grandprix.com.

It’s being built without the aid of Hermann Tilke, who has had something of a monopoly of F1 circuit design for more than a decade.

According to Grandprix.com:

The conseil general of the Yvelines departement, which is funding the circuit, asked for tenders for the design in the autumn and has now chosen the winning bid, presented by the French firm Wilmotte, which boasts offices in London, Paris and Cannes and employs 150 designers.

Wilmotte decided to ally with Britain’s Apex Circuit Design, headed by Clive Bowen, who has a list of circuit designs behind him including the Dubai Autodrome, the Eurasia Autodrome at Domodedovo in Russia, plus ongoing projects such as the Iceland MotoPark, the Eastern Creek Raceway in Australia, Hampton Downs in New Zealand and the new Alabama Motorsports Park in the United States. Apex has also designed international kart tracks for Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

It has often been assumed that a pre-requisite from any track wanting to hold an F1 race is a visit from Hermann Tilke.

Many fans have, perhaps unfairly, criticised Tilke for a lack of imagination in modern F1 track designs, though I have often wondered whether the restrictive rules have more to do with it.

The clockwise Flins-Mureaux design (see here for another picture) departs from Tilke convention in one clear way: there are no obvious pre-arranged ‘overtaking places’ where a tight corner leads onto a long straight and then another tight corner.

Perhaps the designs have assumed that the new generation of F1 cars will be able to follow each other more closely than last year’s were, and so purpose-built overtaking zones can become a thing of the past.

At 4.5km (2.8 miles) this would be one of the shortest tracks in F1, longer only than Monte-Carlo, Interlagos and the Hungaroring.

What do you think of the Flins-Mureaux F1 track design?

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47 comments on Flins-Mureaux: France’s Tilke-free track

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  1. Yorricksfriend said on 16th March 2009, 22:13

    I like the look of it, but only time will tell

  2. Robert McKay said on 16th March 2009, 22:23

    Apparently it doesn’t have much elevation change, which is a slight disappointment, as it doesn’t look absolutely thrilling. Having said that, it does look a bit more “retro” than the Tilke tracks. Reminds me a bit of Buenos Aires and tracks of that sort of ilk.

    Thing is, one wonders if Bernie’s desire for a Paris street race might mean that he’s not overly interested in signing a deal with them.

  3. Chaz said on 16th March 2009, 22:26

    At first glance, without as yet further detailed data, I think looks good but sadly a little short and flat. But, imagine my surprise and delight to hear that Tilke the track destroyer is not involved. This is really brilliant news and so I wish all those involved the greatest success…

  4. Damon said on 16th March 2009, 22:35

    If that track is only 4.5 km long – it’s aweful!
    Aweful design, I hate it. It reminds me of the track in Argentina. Well, it is indeed very similar.
    It shows the typical modern philosophy of building a track on the smallest surface possible, hence the typical “H” shape one usually ends up with in such case.

    What do we have there – 2 straights and the rest are either hairpins (at least 4 of them!) and a couple of very slow twisty corners.

    That track is too small for F1. Way to small.

  5. Eduardo Colombi said on 16th March 2009, 22:39

    I think Formula One is leading to lose it tradition adopting new tracks and leting go old school tracks like Susuka’s, wich is my favorite circuit.

    But thats all about the business and if that’s what takes to make f1 more competitive I suport it if shows results.

  6. Eduardo Colombi said on 16th March 2009, 22:51

    About the track: it is pretty simple and short, nothing extraordinary or breathtaking about it. Too simple for my taste…

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th March 2009, 22:52

    If they just raced the top bit that would be cool!

    • Arthur954 said on 16th March 2009, 23:19

      Very good observation ! I agree. The upper part that Keith
      points out , with the two aprox. paralell tracks, could be stretched to go around the whole property, a kind of Monza
      going around in a circle.
      This would make interesting high speed racing with fast turns of irregular radiouses ….
      As long as Tilke doesen´t get near, something good could be done

      The way it is right now i find it too convencional and simple

  8. John H said on 16th March 2009, 23:16

    Tracks need elevation change. This looks like Hungaroring Lite™

    The more races on the side of mountains the better in my opinion!

    • Spud said on 17th March 2009, 15:23

      I’d agree with that anyway. The track doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the lanscape. It’s as if it was just plonked down by helicopter (you wouldn’t be allowed to build a house in such a fashion so the same should go for an F1 track (or any track for that matter). It would be nice to see more tracks like the old hockenheim or spa or suzuka. I reckon they are gettin a little too safety consious to the point where it takes away from the show.

      PS: the medals system sucks…… BIG TIME!

  9. Gonna have to whip it up in Rfactor and give it a go. Looks flat from the top,, view (we need a real elevation plan) adding some up and down (ie showing it) would really change the thought process of what is shown but it looks like flat-ish countryside.

    With some elevation there are a few nice points about it. Also the wider bends on either end of the big straights are interesting, some nice high speed curves. If the middle of the track holds water as it’s a low point it could provide great views of the whole track from the grandstands (clever). Also some mild elevation makes this vastly more interesting. It says there are 6m of elevation in it, so it may provide interesting, they treat a lot of that in the “corkscrew” and play up the riverside atmosphere and rail transport, pretty great pitch for a new smaller venue cleverly done. What else do you think Keith?

  10. F1Yankee said on 16th March 2009, 23:18

    it looks like there might be a good passing opportunity in turn 2, and again in the top-right corner of the picture

  11. TommyB said on 16th March 2009, 23:27

    Anyone else think it looks a bit like Interlagos?

  12. ajokay said on 16th March 2009, 23:30

    At least it can boast corners who’s radii change throughout the length of the corner. Thats one thing that bothers me about Tilke’s tracks. They look like giant scalextrics, with corners of the same radius.

    • Mark said on 17th March 2009, 22:26

      I actually thought Tilke did a fairly decent job of changing the radii–he likes decreasing-radius complexes like 13 and 14 at Sepang, or the last few corners at the redone bits of Fuji.

  13. TommyB said on 16th March 2009, 23:30

    I agree Keith, We should make another high speed track like Monza or Old Hockenheim. With the cars being able to run close and with similar engines a slipsteam race would be so cool!

  14. Ronan said on 16th March 2009, 23:31

    Looks very bland. Hard to see any exciting or interesting point to it. The final three corners remind me of the awful end to the lap at Fuji.

  15. teamorders said on 16th March 2009, 23:35

    Do we need another short track with no elevation changes or overtaking opportunities?

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