The Estoril circuit

As you might know, at this time there are workers busy at Estoril destroying its faster curves in time for FIA's inspection in August, 31th, 1997.

On this page you can find the various versions of Estorils:

The FIA nominated the Tilke corporation to study the changes to implement at Estoril. These changes have not been well received by teams (I read comments by Williams). One of the teams wrote a letter in which they said after those modifications the circuit would no longer be interesting for testing.Until this year Estoril was considered a great test track, since it is varied enough that a car that runs well there will run well anywhere.

Conspiracy theory: this is not a coincidence and one of the targets of the redesign of the circuit was to reduce the number of tests there so as to reduce the circuit's source of income and make its administration more vulnerable (Bernie has demanded the removal of those admins as a condition for more GPs).

But now that Estoril is dead a new circuit appears: Sepoong in Korea, which will hold a GP in 1998 (probably in October, after the Japanese GP, since it is the driest month there). When you look at its map you see a very similar shape to Estoril.

The Sepoong circuit (designed with the cooperation of Harvey Postlethwaite)

The main differences are the first curves (an S) very similar to Barcelona's, and the latest curves. In those, Estoril had first a left-hander at 90 degrees and then the Senna Parabolica. In Sepoong the right-hander is more open, and so the last curve is about 100-110 degrees instead of the 180 at Estoril.

The fastest curve at Sepoong is a copy of the old "Curva da Orelha" (Ear curve) which was replaced in Estoril by the chicane in 1994. In Sepoong the cars will be at 260 km/h at 2.1G and following there is an high-speed S (180-220 km/h, 3.2-3.3 G).

BTW, in Estoril there are houses just outside that curve, so it is not feasible building a runoff area. Then again, considering the amount of money being spent at the track (there are talks about $6 million and probably much more), $200000 or $300000 to indemnify the owner of those old houses would not be very noticeable.

In summary, Sepoong seems like a great circuit. But in Korea is obviously not an option for winter testing (due to the cost of travel).

My F1 page.