The seventh round of the Formula 1 World Championship 2021 will take us this weekend to Circuit Paul Ricard, the current venue for the French Grand Prix.
The race was missing from the calendar last year due to Covid-19 disruptions but is back now and should see plenty of action thanks to the ongoing close battle between front runners Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes-Benz AMG and Max Verstappen from Red Bull Racing.
The French Grand Prix is one of the oldest car races in the world. It comes from the dawn of motorsport, because the very first Grand Prix, French for “Grand Prix”, was the 1906 French Grand Prix. The original grand price was 45,000 francs, which at the time was equivalent to 28.6 pounds of gold.
The French race is currently at home on the Circuit Paul Ricard. Located near the city of Marseille, the track has an even distribution of high, medium and low speed corners, making it one of the most popular test tracks in the world. The route is also famous for its red and blue run-off zones, which are designed in such a way that no gravel pits are required.
Circuit Paul Ricard, venue of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix
The track was extensively repaved before F1’s return to France in 2018, with almost all corners – about a third of the lap – being given new asphalt. This means that the surface is still relatively smooth, which in turn means that tire wear is generally low.
The winning strategy in the previous race was a one-stopper from medium to hard, which was adopted by all podium finishers. Pirelli has nominated its C2, C3 and C4 compounds for the weekend.
The warm weather expected in the south of France at this time of year could add some thermal deterioration that teams will need to watch out for. The current forecast calls for peak temperatures of around 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) throughout the weekend and possibly some thunderstorms on Sunday.
Before qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday, Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings in 2021 with 105 points, Hamilton comes second with 101 points and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez third with 69 points. In the constructors’ championship, Red Bull leads with 174 points against the 148 from Mercedes and 94 from Ferrari. The last winner in France was Hamilton for Mercedes.