French Grand Prix 28th June
The Circuit Paul Ricard opened in 1970, hosting the first Formula One race the following year. Its trademark is the long back straight, the Mistral Straight, which was originally 1.8 km long, and shortened to a length of 1 km after a chicane was built in the middle of it. This is a power-hungry circuit, with tremendous stress on power-units due to the high use of open-throttle. The second trademark are the black, blue, and red escape zones, which are not only visually stunning, but also have a specific purpose – to provide a safer run-off area for race cars, in place of the usual gravel found at other circuits. These zones also give different types of grip to tyres, with the red one being more abrasive than the blue, providing more stopping power as cars advance deeper into the run-off areas.
The team garages
Of the 21 circuits on the 2018 Formula One calendar, the garages at the Cirucuit Paul Ricard are the only ones to have a split level garage with a engineers’ room and window overlooking the garage from the back to the front. The facilities are top-notch, with the garage insulated and air conditioned, and plenty of space for all of the team’s personnel to work.
Softs, Supersofts and Ultrasofts – The tarmac at the Circuit Paul Ricard has been completely resurfaced prior to the 2018 French Grand Prix, so the track has high-grip and low-abrasion, similar to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The high-speed corners will be demanding for tyres, especially in terms of lateral force, and if the cars go into the highly abrasive run-off areas during the race.