It’s time for us to return to Europe, as we head to Circuit Paul Ricard located in between the cities of Marseille and Toulon on the French Riviera. The track features an even distribution of high, medium and low-speed corners, and for those reasons is one of the most used test circuits in the world. Along with this, the red and blue run-off areas are distinctive in colour and designed to avoid the need for gravel traps.
Following a successful outing during FP1 in Canada, the team’s Reserve Driver Nicholas Latifi, returns to the cockpit of the FW42 once again in France, replacing George Russell for the opening session of the weekend.
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: We return to the Circuit Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix, which is one of the oldest motor races in the world. The layout of the circuit chosen for the race is 5.8km long and includes several long straights and some demanding corners, like Signes (T10) – the quick right-hander at the end of the Mistral straight – and the ‘double right’ at T11 are the most significant.
Pirelli have made available the middle three compounds from their range, the same combination that was used in Australia, China and Azerbaijan, and this is likely to lead to a variety of one and two-stop races.
Following a successful and productive outing in FP1 in Canada two weeks ago, our Reserve Driver, Nicholas Latifi will again drive the FW42, this time sharing FP1 duties with Robert. We have a test programme which will continue to help us understand the long-term potential of the car, as well as concentrating on tyre performance and setup specific to Paul Ricard.
Robert Kubica: It is time for the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard returned after a long break in the Formula One calendar, and this will be the second year where modern F1 cars have raced there. I know the track pretty well from previous series and tests, such as Formula 3 and World Series by Renault. I am looking forward to racing there once again as it is a unique track with no gravel traps or run-off areas, so it is very safe. The combination of high-speed long corners, long straights and low speed corners make it a challenging circuit. I am looking forward to what should be a hot weekend, that will be demanding on the tyres with the high-speed long corners putting a lot of stress and energy into the tyres. We will need to investigate these factors to prepare for the race.
George Russell: I am really looking forward to driving at Paul Ricard and returning to the European leg of the season. It has been great fun racing overseas, but it will be nice to get back to some tracks that we know well and can maximise. Last year in FIA Formula 2, France was a great event for me, as I won the feature race.
Nicholas Latifi: I’m excited to continue my FP1 programme with the team in France coming off a successful weekend in Canada. Montreal had a lot of positives and I’m looking to build on those experiences going into Le Castellet. It’s quite a different track with a lot less risk involved due to the nature of the circuit which will give me confidence to push a bit harder. It’s also a weekend where I will be mixing my F1 duties with an F2 race weekend, which poses a unique challenge. I’m more than up for it and looking forward to what will be a very busy weekend.