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

  1. mkh1 said on 16th March 2009, 23:36

    I like the fact that Tilke isn’t designing it. Also there doesn’t appear to be any mass tarmac run off areas which will make it look less bland thab other new circuits. Looks like a good touring car track, still unsure whether it’ll make a good F1 track though.

  2. Eduardo Colombi said on 16th March 2009, 23:39

    not in my perspective…

  3. teamorders said on 16th March 2009, 23:50

    I’d happily swap the Valencia GP & the Hungury GP for an extra Belgium – SPA GP and call it the European. Come on Bernie, how about it?

  4. Paul said on 16th March 2009, 23:58

    I agree with those who have said it: on paper, it looks similar to Buenos Aires.

    And has been stated by Keith, the hate for a man such as Tilke is illogical. He has designed several decent and good tracks in this current era even though his creative limitations are seriously nailed down by the FIA. And blaming his tracks for any faults in F1 panders to a very weak nostalgia argument that can at times fly in the face of safety. Which is ridiculous.

    In the past ten years, every track that F1 has visited has put on a dull race. Several tracks multiple times. There’s a common denominator here, as much as I love Monza and Suzuka and Spa like the rest (and I do). It’s the formula. Imagine that.

    • glamourBob said on 17th March 2009, 2:04

      true that. People always harp on about Monza, and yes, it is nice to have some historic tracks in the calender, but this is the truth: the Monza race is nearly always a predictable snoozefest, as good as over after the first couple of laps.

  5. Andy said on 17th March 2009, 0:58

    I don’t want flat tracks, something akin to Spa is more to my tastes.

  6. Gman said on 17th March 2009, 2:01

    First up, all of you probably know more about circuit design and construction than I do, so I won’t pass any serious judgement on the layout. From what I can see, it dose appear a bit like the old Argentine track- lots of turns in a small space. If there isn’t much elevation change, I wonder if, from a pure racing/performance viewpoint, the place would be any sort of improvement over Magny-Cours?

  7. todd said on 17th March 2009, 3:21

    only just bigger than fuji speedway by what – 30m?!

    track layout looks alright, does seem to be squished in a small block of land – as if that’s all they could find / afford.

    would probably be better as a touring car / GT car track than f1.

    if they move that grandstand to the middle it’s almost like malaysia (sepang).

  8. theRoswellite said on 17th March 2009, 3:47

    One wonders what the constraints were regarding acreage, and if they can build embankments around the track they could certainly put some elevation changes in the middle of the track….somewhere. If they think having an absolute continuous view of a dull track is better than restricted views of an interesting section of track………….they are not only wrong, they are buying into a failed formula.

    The green-ideas are relevant and overdue…………but, they don’t have to come packaged in boredom. Pardon the pun, but we all need a bit of relief from the normal.

  9. theRoswellite said on 17th March 2009, 4:37

    oh, one PS:

    I’d like to see something like the old Avus attached to a layout like this one, with a nice long straight, say 5 miles,(you could use it as public road 51 weeks a year); and at the far end a nice banked section, with the grandstands to the inside. You could have TV cameras on rails to follow the cars on the straight and show it back to the regular circuit on jumbotron screens. The cars would by necessity need to run very little wing, and we could thus see more of the good old days of racing with cars in almost continual 4 wheel drifts in every corner.

    Yes, I do realize that this would probably violate ALL of the present design guidelines for tracks. But, I also know that no one would be confused about which track it was and for good or bad……….it would be memorable.

    Sorry, I’ll go back under my rock.

  10. Pingguest said on 17th March 2009, 7:58

    The track looks boring. I think it’s very unlikely it will provide some overtaking.

  11. Hounslow said on 17th March 2009, 8:32

    Agree with many of the postings here. It just looks boring; too many corners close to 180 degrees because its been stuffed into too small an acreage. No elevation changes, no flow to the design at all, and possibly only two fast corners.
    No doubt it will be built, opened with great ceremony, produce a really boring race and be pronounced a huge success by Bernie!

  12. Al H. said on 17th March 2009, 8:42

    The bottom half looks like Brands Hatch to me (though I doubt they could create a better first corner than Paddock Bend these days.)

  13. Motion said on 17th March 2009, 9:08

    If the French want Eastern creek we’ll give them naming rights if they supply the cash! http://www.skylinesaustralia.com/forums/Eastern-Creek-Layout-t231380.html
    Seriously, I think it too short just like Eastern Creek.

    I do like the idea of a one-off “inside-outside track” with a high speed elevated loop surrounding a tight flat inner loop something a bit shorter than the top side of Monza but also feeding an extra inner loop. it would be a long track by today’s standards

  14. SonyJunkie said on 17th March 2009, 9:13

    Is it me or does the bottom part look a lot like the Paul Ricard circuit?!!

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Paul_Ricard_1986.jpg

    They eve have the same number of corners.

  15. Chalky said on 17th March 2009, 10:14

    With a flat track in such a confined space they might as well have built an oval around the outside. Maybe they link either side with some banking and have an oval for other forms of motorsport?

    Personally I’m always a fan of decent elevation change on a track.

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