After reports coming in which claim that Malaysia and Singapore may be off the calendar for 2018, it has been confirmed by authorities that the Circuit Paul Ricard will host a Grand Prix in 2018. This marks the end of a decade long wait for Formula One to return to France. The last race held in France was in 2008 at Magny-Cours where Felipe Massa took one of his last race wins. Paul Ricard is a 5.8km long racetrack in Le Castellet, France which is close to the coastal city of Marseille.
It is a challenging track and is a very famous testing venue. It features two long straights (which can be converted to three) but lacks excitement. There are limited overtaking opportunities and with the regulation changes coming in (cars become faster on corners, reduces overtaking chances), that number might reduce. Let me tell you what’s good about this track before we move on to the negative side of things.
The track is fast at places such as the Signes corner and also features sprinklers that spray water onto the track. To make the races more exciting, the FIA can select a time to deploy the sprinklers during the race. This time will be decided before the start of the race and will be kept secret. Hence, the teams will have to cope up with a wet track at that period which just improves the unpredictability of the sport.
The track is close to Monaco so if the two races are one after the another, travelling becomes a little less hectic for everybody. Also, France is a country with a large amount of motorsport lovers so we can expect a colossal crowd during the race weekend.
Now, the cons. The track anyways isn’t very thrilling. Now that layout in which the 1.8km long Mistral Straight is broken by a chicane and a slower version of Turn 1 is used has been confirmed for 2018, it all becomes worse. You never know the race could be duller than Baku this season, but let’s not loose hope. Also, the pit lane entry is awful but that’ll surely be changed as the track may undergo major repairs before the event.
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If you thought that those things were bad, it is about to get worse. The track has an ample of runoff which results in hardly any consequences for driver error. This track has often earned criticism thanks to this and is compared to a parking lot by many. The last track criticized for having such a great amount of runoff was the Yas Marina Circuit. Overtaking there is challenging and with lots of area to run wide, drivers easily avoid what can been crashes at other circuits.
Hopefully the race won’t be as boring as it seems but that would be our concern in 2018. For now, let’s embrace the fact that we’ve got a whole season in front of us before we get to France.
What are your views on this racetrack? Comment below and let me know.
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