French Grand Prix
The French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, returns after a year off due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Paul Ricard is long and was designed with a number of overtaking opportunities. The track is wids and offers multiple driving lines. Last season we saw 60 overtakes on the track in what proved to be an entertaining race. Whether or not those opportunities play out as they were designed is a matter of discussion and a variable that will not be known perhaps until Sunday afternoon. Last season saw a wet Sunday for the race.
Last year Max Verstappen was the winner at Paul Ricard using a two-stop strategy as he was the only frontrunner to make two stops. His win heated up the title chase last year, one in which he ultimately won in the end.
Speaking of things heating up, the weather forecast for the weekend in the South of France is warm which could cause high track temps and some adverse effects on tire degradation. Temperatures are predicted to be in the 90s all weekend.
The Mistral straight – named after the famous French wind, which can also disrupt the aerodynamic balance of the cars – also has the potential to cool the front tyres down. This can affect the turn-in at Signes immediately afterwards: the most demanding corner of the entire circuit, taken flat-out.
The tire choices for this weekend are the middle compounds, the C2,C3 & C4. Paul Ricard is a quite well-balanced circuit, where there is a bit of everything: fast corners and flat-out straights as well as slower and more technical sections. All of that is placing medium-severity energy loads on the tires, which is why it makes for a good test track. At 12 meters wide, there are plenty of options when it comes to lines and overtaking: all providing an interesting challenge for the drivers. Turn 13 is particularly demanding in terms of continuous energy demands on the tire, as is the Signes corner after the Mistral straight. At 5.8 kilometers/3.630 miles, Paul Ricard has one of the longest laps of the year.
Minimum Tire Pressure at the start: 24.0 psi (front) | 21.5 psi (rear). EOS Camber limit -3.25° (front) | -2.00° (rear)
- Max Verstappen has scored in each of the last eight races, the longest active streak on the grid. The second longest streak currently belongs to Lewis Hamilton at seven in a row.
- Ferrari has outscored Red Bull 104-80 in the last three races. Mercedes has put up 76 points during that same time period
- Mercedes has seven third-place finishes in 2022.
- Alpine has had consecutive top-five finishes, having not scored any in the first nine races of 2022.
- Both Haas cars have scored in consecutive races for the first time since the final two races of 2018.
- Sergio Perez has retired in two of the last three races
- Charles Leclerc has led 259 laps this season, Max Verstappen has been out front for 253 laps.
- Red Bull has led the most laps of any team this season with 336, Ferrari is at 311 while Mercedes has been in front for 12 laps.
- Lewis Hamilton has run 658 of a possible 659 laps this season, the most on the grid.
- McLaren is the team with the most laps completed this season with 1,281 of a possible 1,318. Ferrari has only completed 1,071 of 1,318
- Since F1 returned to Paul Ricard in 2018, each of the three races have been won from pole.
French GP Quick Facts:
Tire Allocations: C2 (White), C3 (Yellow) and C4 (Red).
Location: Circuit Paul Ricard. Permanent circuit. 15 Turns (Le Castellet)
Lap Length: 5.842 km/3.630miles
Race Length: 53 laps
Fastest Lap: 2019 Sebastan Vettel in a Ferrari 1:32.720
Qualifying Record: 2019 Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes 1:28.319
Most wins by Constructor: Ferrari has 17 wins in the French GP and Williams has collected 8.
Most wins by a driver: Michael Schumacher claimed the French Grand Prix 8 times in his career and Alain Prost collected 6 wins.