Organisers of the French Grand Prix have confirmed the track layout which will be used next year at the Circuit Paul Ricard for the event’s return to the F1 calendar.
The race, scheduled on June 24 2018, will use the track’s traditional 5.8km configuration although several turns have been slightly altered to take into consideration the increased speed of F1 cars.
Drivers are expected to reach a top speed of 344 km/h on the famous Mistral straight before decelerating heavily for a chicane which should offer ample overtaking opportunities.
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The Signes curve which follows won’t be for the faint of heart with drivers racing through the right hand sweep at full speed and likely with very high G-forces.
“Adding the chicane in the middle of the main straight should help with overtaking,” says Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
“It will be full throttle before a very big breaking zone. If a driver defends his line while breaking for the chicane, he may not have a good exit.
“That could provide the car behind with another overtaking opportunity at Signes, which will be flat-out, with the possibility of going through it two abreast!
“That could nicely set up a pass before the double right-hander at Beausset. After that, it will be a lot more difficult to overtake until reaching the pit straight.”
Former Grand Prix driver Jean Alesi, who was also present at the Castellet for yesterday’s presentation, believes the track’s layout offers a challenging diversity of corners.
“The circuit will be a real benchmark for the drivers, because it has every type of corner,” said Alesi.
“I am sure the drivers will all have a lot of fun here.”
The race’s promoters are also working on improving the venue’s infrastructure, with a special effort aimed at increasing the capacity of access roads, typically a weak point at Paul Ricard in the past.
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