We all know that a common complaint about modern circuits is that they’re boring and soulless and fiddly and a variety of other adjectives that all amount to the same thing: fans are consistently unimpressed by circuit design. But for all the complaints about it, I’ve never really seen anyone suggest an alternative, and so this thread gives you that chance. Welcome to the detilkefication, where we take circuits and remove anything that could be described as being “too Hermann Tilke” about them.
So, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. First of all, open up the Google Maps pedometer. Find a circuit and make any changes that you think will produce better racing. Save it, post the link so we can all check it out for ourselves, and give an explanation as to what you did and why.
Here are mine:
Circuit de Catalunya
I kept most of the first sector intact, largely because I like the layout. However, I find the middle part to be fairly boring, full of low- and medium-speed corners that don’t really contribute anything, but the circuit opens up once more around Campsa. So I cut Turn 4 in half, and added a left-hand sweeper in, connecting up to Campsa. The elevation drop is an added bonus, which I think will make the corner even trickier.
The next thing I did was restore La Caixa to its original layout, mostly because the current corner is designed to work with the last part of the lap, and I completely reprofiled it. Rather than a series of tight-ish sweepers where passing is impossible, the drivers now go through a double-apex right where they have to stamp on the throttle at just the right moment in order to get the second half of the corner right. Too early and they will understeer through the corner; too late, and they will leave themselves vulnerable to attack in the next corner, where instead of going through the useless final chicane, there ill be a corner where they can actually pass before accelerating into the final long conrer.
Autodromo enzo e Dino Ferrari
For years, I’ve puzzled over what to do about Imola, and I’m surprised and annoyed that it took me so long to come up with such a simple solution. The problem, for me, is that the circuit has smply been turned into a series of chicanes. How do you keep the spirit of the original circuit intact, but keep all the modern safety requirements?
The answer was to trim down the first sector. Tamburello isn’t actually that bad; it’s Villeneuve that felt unnecessary. So I turned Tamburello into a single corner rather than three. It’s sharp, but there are no changes in direction mid-corner. The cars then blast up to Villeneuve, which is no longer a chicane, but a sweeper as it always should have been (the Tamburello chicane always slowed the cars down enough for Villeneuve, making a second chicane unnecessary.
The cars then go up through Tosa and down through Piratella as usual, to Acque Minerale. I think we can all agree that this is one of Tilke’s better changes, since it took a chicane and smoothed it out, which is never a bad thing. I then decided to skip the Variante Alta entirely, mostly because I feel it represents everything that is wrong with the current state of Imola, paving the way for an insanely-fast run down to Rivazza, which I’ve left undistrubed because it’s one of my favourites. Finally, the removal of the final chicane by the organisers has been kept as is.
The whole circuit is now nice and fast, witha few braking areas where you can pass without needing to slow down to the speed of a pedestrian.
Firstly, I really don’t like the Mercedes Arena. I think it’s full of pointless direction changes and slow, burbling corners that seem to have been designed to give spectators the opportunity to see the cars for as long as possible. But I do like the first corner, because it actually produces a lot of passing. So I decided to keep it, and turn the second corner into one long, constant-radius bend (possibly with some camber) and skip the next two corners entirely. This increases the exit speed of the Arena, and the entry speed of the next two corners.
I’ve always found the bottom corner to be rather uninspiring, built for the sake of connecting one part of the circuit to another. So I added another braking point and overtaking spot, following the line of the embankment on the far side of the current gravel trap. I think this has worked really well, because it creates a multi-apex corner where the drivers must hit the first apex, miss the second and hit the third to get it right (the polar opposite of “Miss-Hit-Miss” – the corner after Kallenhard, I think – on the Nordschleife). What’s more, it gives the defending driver the chance to fight back, because the attacking line puts the attacking driver in the wrong position for the next to apexes. Hopefully, this will create a little side-by-side action up into the Schumacher-S, with the bravest driver winning.
Finally, I decided that if you’re going to race at the Nurburgring, then you have to race at the Nordschleife. I opened up the exit of the downhill right that feeds onto the fastest part of the circuit and linked it up to the Nordschleife by way of the existing public road (what to do for regular traffic is a problem I can’t solve). Sure, it’s only a few corners of the Nordschleife, but I think it does wonders for the final sector: flat-out sweepers that lead to an uphill braking area, then a nice, open sweeper leading onto the main straight that will hopefully increase speeds and allow for more overtaking into the first corner.
I’ll post more if and when I think of them – I have some ideas for the Hungaroring, but they’re not working as well as expected – but for now, I’ll open the floor to you. Feel free to add your own designs, or comment on those have been posted.
In the meantime, let the de-Tilke-fication begin!