F1: The Grand Prix Returns to France This Weekend
This weekend F1 embarks on an unprecedented 3X’r, with the French Grand Prix returning to the calendar.
The last time Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard hosted a F1 race was in Y 1990, the circuit has been reconfigured from the 1 remembered by the older drivers.
France’s most recent Grand Prix was at Magny-Cours in Y 2008, the year Lewis Hamilton won his 1st world championship with McLaren.
Mr. Hamilton is 1 point behind Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Sebastian Vettel after 7 races, with Mr. Vettel taking the lead in Canada 2 weekends ago when he celebrated his 50th career win.
MercedesAMG delayed the introduction of their planned upgrade due to what they said was a ‘quality issue’, a problem that also affected customer teams Williams and Force India.
That should change as of this weekend, with MercedesAMG planning on making the change.
“I’m really going to make sure that we come back strong at the next race,” Mr. Hamilton said after his defeat at Canada.
The France-Austria-Britain weekly race sequence poses a logistical challenge for teams, with the 21-round season moving to the halfway mark.
The 3-in-a-row format was scheduled specifically to avoid a clash with the World Cup soccer final in Russia on 15 July.
“France should be an interesting race. We don’t often get to race on a track where we have little to no historical data,” said MercedesAMG team boss Toto Wolff.
“It makes preparing for the weekend a bit trickier than usual, but that element of the unknown also adds to the challenge.
“The triple header … will test all F1 teams to their limits, but also offers the chance to score a lot of points over the course of three weeks — which is precisely what we’re setting out to do.”
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, 36 and 38 respectively, are the only current drivers to have won a Grand Prix on French soil.
France’s Renault will have plenty of support for their 1st home race, as will the country’s F1 drivers Romain Grosjean (Haas), rookie Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) and Esteban Ocon (Force India).
Sauber’s Alfa Romeo Charles Leclerc is the most local drive, growing up in Monaco, about 3 hours up the road from the circuit between Marseille and Toulon.
Tune in and enjoy the racing.
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