McLaren – 2018 French Grand Prix Preview (Includes Driver Interviews)
Race Weekend: 2018 French Grand Prix
Circuit: Paul Ricard
Race Laps: 53
Tyre Choice: Yellow (Soft), Red (Supersoft), Purple (Ultrasoft)
The Essentials You Need To Know Ahead of the 2018 French Grand Prix
Biggest Challenge – Aero Balance. There are several long corners in the second half of the lap, notable around Turns 11 and 12 where good aero balance is important. Ideally, this is where the driver wants a good car to balance the high speeds whilst braking, accelerating and turning.
Toughest Corner – Turn 10, Signes. Arguably the most famous corner on the lap – with an 85-degreee right hander which is taken flat out in eighth gear and requires 100% commitment from the drivers.
Focus Point – Paul Ricard has recently been re-surfaced and the new asphalt is similar to Silverstone and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya where rear tyre temperatures were a concern during winter testing.
Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 2018 French Grand Prix Preview (Includes Driver Interviews)
Fernando Alonso: “It’s not often that we get to drive on new tracks or tracks that are new for most of us but already have a strong legacy behind them so after my Le Mans experience it’s great to be staying in France and heading to Paul Ricard.”
“Winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans feels like a dream and it was an incredible week. It’s finally sinking in now and I’m already looking forward to getting back to the car and racing again.”
“I’ve never raced at Paul Ricard in Formula 1 but I have driven there in testing a few years ago and I’ve seen designs on the new circuit configurations. I think it looks like it has the potential to be a mega track and it’s going to be a new venue which always makes things exciting as we’re all in the same position and learning the characteristics from scratch.”
“From what we do know, it will be a tough race for both the drivers and the car – the tricky technical challenge, the set up, it looks like there will be a few overtaking opportunities though which should provide some exciting racing.”
“After a couple of disappointing weekends, I hope that we can bounce back in France with a more positive result.”
Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren – 2018 French Grand Prix Preview (Includes Driver Interviews)
Stoffel Vandoorne: “Although Formula 1 hasn’t visited Paul Ricard for a long time, I’m actually one of the only drivers on the current grid that has driven the track – I drove there during a Pirelli test in 2016 which was a really cool experience and I also raced there in my Formula Renault days.”
“It looks like a great track which has been very modernised and I think it’ll provide some great racing. It’s technical with a mix of high-speed and low-speed sections and some of the corners like Sigens are extremely challenging and really good fun.”
“There will be a lot of fans coming to Paul Ricard to experience the race for the first time so there should be a greta atmosphere all weekend. It’ll be great to visit a new city and see how the package performs on a new track. It’ll be unknown territory for all of us but I’m looking forward to the challenge and hope that we can put our last couple of results behind us.”
“Congratulations to Fernando for his win at Le Mans – I watched the last few hours at home and was hoping nothing dramatic would happen right at the end and I know that Fernando did a lot of preparation and it was a well-deserved victory for the whole team.”