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. I kind of like it – it looks more organic than some of the forced Tilke designs. But it still has that artificiality about it – I prefer the older tracks that follow geography and have evolved over the years like Spa or Silverstone.

  2. Pete Walker said on 17th March 2009, 11:14

    On the subject of track lengths, how short is too short?

    I’ve wondered what people think of this for a while. For example, if we had a very short circuit, say, 55-60 seconds to tour, we’d have a very different sort of Grand Prix on our hands, as fighting through lapped traffic would play a major part. Would it be a frantic, non-stop action thriller, or just frustrating and confined?

    Either way, I would definitely like to see more variety in track length. The calendar might be more interesting if we had a couple of short tracks and maybe a three-minute epic. Totally impractical I admit, but I think it would be fascinating.

  3. Scott Joslin said on 17th March 2009, 12:10

    This looks super uninspiring, it could almost be that they have picked up Magny Cours and put it somewhere else. My dislike for the Magny Cours track was that it was crammed in to a small area and doubled back on its self, and this seems to have the same inherrant philosophy. Unfortunately this is the same with the new track at Donington park where the cars never really get unleashed.

    However you could have fooled me, this looks like a Tilke track, that long right hander opening out on the the long straigh in to a hairpin reminds me of China.

    Come on guys, give us some tracks with some character – random water features don’t make a track.

  4. James said on 17th March 2009, 14:45

    I quite like the look of it, nice to see no tarmac runoff. :)
    Depends what the elevation is like.
    P.S. Roswelite, do you have room under that rock?
    P.P.S. That new Eastern Creek looks awful!

  5. First impressions are that it is a flat short track, I can’t say I am that impressed.

    Does anyone else think this just won’t happen, at least to the timescale that has being mentioned, to host a GP in 2011?

    I don’t know the French planning laws, but if it was in England you probably wouldn’t even get planning permission for a new race track on green fields before the 2011 calendar needed to be finalised.

    Also where is the money going to come from? The only new tracks in recent years have been financed by wealthy governments, would there be the political will to do this in a country like France at the moment? Given the state of the global economy and the fact that circuits make a big loss in hosting a Grand Prix I would also have thought it would be hard to raise the money from other sources either.

    Are there no other circuits in France that could be brought up to F1 standard easily if we defiantly aren’t going back to Magny-Cours?

    • Pete Walker said on 17th March 2009, 16:30

      Paul Ricard HTTT. I’m not sure what the facilities are like but its officially F1-safe.

  6. Eric M. said on 17th March 2009, 16:29

    I agree with those who aren’t very impressed with this design. Seems to me to be just another typical autodrome, with not much to distinguish it from any other. They should make some more drawings available so we could have a better look at it.

    @ Fred Schechter:
    You can create circuits for RFactor? Damn, we should talk. I’ve got a ton of layouts if your interested.

  7. KingHamilton said on 17th March 2009, 18:46

    although its flat, this circuit seems to have some interesting corners, especially turns 8 and 9

  8. Robert said on 23rd May 2009, 3:47

    Guys, Hungaroring is 4.381km and Fuji is 4.549km. The 1995-98 F1 circuit at Buenos Aires was 4.259km, and TI Circuit Aida (Pacific GP) was 3.702km.

    I don’t find this course overly short, even for large cars. Mexico City is 2.747 miles to the lap. And you have Sears Point, Road Atlanta, Mosport Park, Laguna Seca, Mid Ohio, Portland, and Lime Rock (before the most recent renovations) that are all shorter than the circuit proposed here. All of these tracks host or have hosted 700+hp prototype sportscars and/or CART/IRL machinery. Lime Rock, the shortest of the group listed here, had a pre-chicane lap record of ~45 seconds (122.xxx-mph on a 1.53-mile circuit in 1988), and a chicaned lap record of 43.311 seconds (128.xxx-mph on a 1.54-mile course in 1993). I think we can agree that the aforementioned road courses are very good in spite of their length.

    I really don’t think it will be as tight as so many of you say. The only changes I would make would be to easy the left/right combination before the final “chicane” complex, and then replace that final complex with a long, steadily-increasing radius corner to end the lap. I’d give it a tight early apex with a long, unwinding exit. As to the reality of the circuit, I believe it’s mentioned on the Apex Circuit Design website that one of the corners will be banked at greater than 10 degrees, which actually requires special dispensation from the FIA.

    I’m still not a fan of Tilke, despite what some try to say. A V8 Supercars race at Bahrain just doesn’t get me going, and the same, though not quite as bad, can be said for SuperGTs at Shanghai. I’m simply not very enamored with Tilke’s circuits, regardless of the formula that is racing on them. The only real exception to this is Istanbul, and I still hate the tarmac run-offs there with a vengeance.

  9. I’m not a fan of the layout…
    it’s too sweeping, need more angles it doesn’t look like there’s any definate overtaking places. Nowhere looks like theres any really heavy breaking areas. Of course the near hairpins after the long straights will require a lot of breaking but the corner itself isn’t tight enough to allow late breaking as the car infront can just drive around the outside if anyone does get down the inside because of the loosness of the corner.

  10. Robert said on 27th February 2010, 6:24

    It either has to be a fairly quick corner, or a banked hairpin, for the guy to use the outside line to stay ahead. I see two or three braking spots that should be good enough for F1 cars. Also, Turn 1 looks interesting in its own right, as well as being an exciting set up for the hairpin Turn 2. In short, pX54, I must disagree with you on this circuit.

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