Martin Brundle dismisses ‘boring race’ critics with Barcelona track now ‘energised’

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, on track. Barcelona, June 2023.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso on track at the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona, June 2023.

Ex-F1 racer Martin Brundle made his support for the altered Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya layout clear, hailing a race which he thought was far from boring.

Not since 2006 had Formula 1 used the original final sector configuration of two fast, sweeping right-handers to send the drivers back down the main straight, with a low-speed and largely unpopular chicane having been in use since 2007 to end the lap, originally introduced on safety grounds.

Formula 1 took a step back in hope of moving forward then by reverting to the double right-hander for the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix, a move which generally proved popular among the drivers, and seemingly played a key role in creating a race packed with overtaking action, that not always a guarantee here in the past.

For all that action though it was perhaps not a Grand Prix which will live very long in the memory, Max Verstappen having taken his third win on the trot, 24 seconds clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at the line, while Mercedes had the clear beating of Ferrari and Aston Martin.

Brundle though does not believe the race was boring for one moment, praising the way in which the revised layout “energised” the track and the race. recommends

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“The circuit changes in Barcelona really worked a treat for energising the track and race for the latest F1 cars,” Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports F1 column.

“As Ant Davidson said in a Sky Sports F1 feature we did, unlike some other circuits, the cars have grown into this revisited layout.

“Three slow corners, including one of the most frustrating chicanes in motor sport, were returned to two very high-speed zones. It was slowed down back in 2007 in the name of greater safety and better overtaking.

“You could still have a very sizeable shunt today but the overtaking down into Turn 1, albeit with the DRS rear wing open, provided significantly better entertainment. It looked to me that we can nip a good few metres out of the pit-straight DRS activation point to tighten that up further.

“I always get more excited about an event when drivers are fizzing and positive about the track or surroundings, it’s contagious.”

Verstappen’s victory saw him extend his Championship lead over team-mate Sergio Perez to 53 points, while Mercedes moved ahead of Aston Martin in the Constructors’ standings, though the deficit to Red Bull is already an almighty 135 points.