As Circuit Paul Ricard continues to present itself in the glorious sunshine and sweltering temperatures on Sunday as well, teams and drivers need to get themselves prepared for a challenging French Grand Prix today in which reliability and tyre management will play a crucial role. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó picks out the vital facts ahead of Round 12 of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship.
5.842km – The Circuit Paul Ricard track has a length of 5.842km. Drivers will need to cover a total of 53 laps to complete the full race distance of 309.626km.
Slowly! – The pitlane speed limit is 60km/h in all sessions of the race weekend. Edoardo Freitas, who takes on the role of the race director this weekend, made a change to the speed limit zone on Friday by extending the length of this zone until the actual pit exit. Previously, drivers could release the limiter at the end of the last garage used by the F1 teams. The Portuguese thought that it was potentially dangerous as driver might lose control of the cars and head towards the garages that are not used this weekend.
No offset – The start and finish line is identical on the Circuit Paul Ricard.
The German – The fastest ever race lap was recorded by Sebastian Vettel, who set the benchmark of 1m32.710 at the 2019 French Grand Prix while still driving for Ferrari.
Changes – A few modifications have been made to the high-tech Circuit Paul Ricard. A new gravel trap has been installed at Turn 7 while the run-off at Turn 2 has been relevelled. Furthermore, an additional panel has been installed at the pit lane entry.
DRS - There will be two DRS zones at Paul Ricard. The first zone has a detection point 75m before Turn 7 and an activation point 170m after Turn 7. The second zone has a detection point at Turn 14 and activation 115m after Turn 15.
62nd – Today’s race will be the 62nd running of the Formula One French Grand Prix. The race made its debut in the inaugural year of the Formula One World Championship and only missed the calendar in 1955 until 2008.
Seven – The French Grand Prix has been held at seven different locations. Reims, Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Paul Ricard and Magny-Cours have staged multiple races while the iconic venue of Le Mans has organized a single event in 1967.
Magny-Cours – This venue has hosted most French Grands Prix with 18 races. Paul Ricard is second on this list with 17 appearances on the calendar. Reims staged 11 races, Dijon held 5 Grands Prix, the Le Mans Bugatti circuit played host to one single event, Rouen was visited by the F1 field on five occasions while Clermont-Ferrand held 4 races.
1906 - Grand Prix motor racing has its roots in organised automobile racing that began in France as early as 1894. Le Mans hosted the first-ever motor race, way back in 1906, the first international event ever to be labelled a grand prix. Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz, driving a Renault, won the inaugural event, completing more than 12 hours behind the wheel, and setting a top speed of 96mph.
The oldest! - The French Grand Prix, which returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2018 after a 10-year absence, is the oldest grand prix in the world.
The Italians – Ferrari is the most successful constructor in history of the French Grand Prix with seventeen wins followed by Williams with eight victories and Lotus with seven triumphs.
The German – Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in France. The German won on eight occasions while his closest rival Alain Prost crossed the finish line first six times. There are three French Grand Prix winners entered this weekend – Fernando Alonso took victory for Renault in 2005, Lewis Hamilton won in 2018 and 2019 while last year’s event was won by Max Verstappen.
1069th - The 2022 Formula 1 Grand Prix de France will be the 1069th Formula 1 Grand Prix in history.
Fifth most visited - With 59 contests since 1950, the Formula 1 Grand Prix de France is among the oldest of the World Championships and logically among the most raced, just behind Great Britain, Italy, Monaco and Belgium.
Celebration – Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will make his 300th start in Formula One. The Briton will be the sixth driver to reach this milestone with only Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button having completed more races. Hamilton is the most successful driver alongside Schumacher, having scored 103 wins, 103 pole positions, 186 podium finishes and seven world titles.
Champions - The 34 drivers crowned world champions since 1950 have all competed in at least one Grand Prix de France in their career. Fourteen of them have never won.
The records – Juan Manuel Fangio holds the record for most pole position with 5. Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher both stood on the podium eleven times. While Michael Schumacher holds the record for most wins with eight triumphs, Alain Prost collected the most consecutive victories with three wins.
The closest - One second separated Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling at the chequered flag at Reims-Gueux in 1954, a feat repeated by Giancarlo Baghetti and Dan Gurney at the same track in 1961.