The big novelty at this weekend’s Spanish GP will be the absence of the slow chicane at the end of the Circuit de Catalunya layout.
For safety and overtaking, the original and iconic final two high-speed right-handers were removed ahead of the 2007 race.
“I don’t like it much,” Fernando Alonso said at the time. “I really liked the two final corners here and I will miss them.”
It was announced in late February this year that the spectacular old corners have now been returned to the Formula 1 layout.
“New protection and deceleration systems” including Tecpro barriers “allow the corners to be reinstated” a spokesman for the Barcelona track said at the time.
16 years after his aforementioned statement, the now 41-year-old Alonso admits he is looking forward to racing his Aston Martin through the revived corners.
“I think it will probably be more fun to drive like this,” he is quoted by Diario Sport.
“That section was too slow for our cars. It wasn’t fun to race there, but we have to wait and see if this new design helps with overtaking.”
Also looking forward to the corners is fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz.
“I think it will improve the show and therefore I fully support Formula 1’s decision and the organisers to return to this layout,” said the Ferrari driver.
“I am curious to see how the times and strategies will change in the race.”
Barcelona is currently facing rumours that F1 might be looking to relocate the Spanish GP to a street circuit in Madrid.
“We have a valid contract until 2026,” circuit boss Jose Luis Santamaria said.
“We’ve had 33 grands prix in a row and we’re focused on our reality, on improving our facility and looking forward to this event.
“Our desire and our mission is to continue with Formula 1 for many years and relations are excellent.”