Coronel warns of ‘seriously big gravel traps’ in Qatar

Date published: October 4 2021 - Finley Crebolder

Rain at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. April, 2009.

Tom Coronel says the track that will host the Qatar Grand Prix is “super-fun” but has warned drivers of the “seriously big” gravel traps.

It has recently been confirmed Formula 1 will head to Qatar for the first time towards the end of this season, hosting the third to last round of the campaign.

The event will take place at the Losail International Circuit, which has been predominantly used for motorcycle racing since its construction.

A number of touring car races have also been held there though and Coronel has taken part in many of them, thus gaining in-depth knowledge of the circuit.

The Dutchman is a fan of it and thinks it will be a good addition to the calendar – especially as, unlike others, it punishes drivers who make mistakes.

“It’s a super-fun track, they have chosen this well,” he told the Dutch branch of Motorsport.com.

“The good thing is not everyone knows it, so we will see people make mistakes. I love that. A circuit like Barcelona, ​​nobody makes a mistake there anymore because all those guys drive a lot.

“This is not a Paul Ricard where you can easily go straight [on]. At Qatar, you have seriously big gravel traps that Formula 1 cars can get stuck in.”

The most similar track to it, he feels, is Mugello.

“With those relatively fast corners, it’s a bit Mugello-esque I think,” he added.

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One criticism of many circuits these days is that it is too difficult to overtake on them in modern F1 cars.

Indeed, that was considered the main downside of Zandvoort following the return of the Dutch Grand Prix earlier this season.

While Coronel says it is hard to pass at Losail though, he thinks with DRS it will be possible even if difficult, and with sand and elevation changes says it is a tough track on the whole.

 

“I found it a difficult track,” he said.

“It was also difficult to overtake, but of course in Formula 1 you have DRS so it’s different.

“It’s all medium-speed corners, it goes a bit up and down…and, by the way, there is an awful lot of sand next to the racing line.”