2019 French GP Preview

This weekend is the 8th race of the 2019 F1 season and we are talking about the stunning circuit of Paul Ricard, which is located in the south of France, a technical circuit that offers lot of trouble especially in the tyre degradation. Teams have to work hard in order to get their tyres working in the right range in order to extract optimum performance out of them throughout the race. This time around, the pit entry has been changed, as a result of which, the average pit stop time has also increased considerably; hence, most teams will be working on prolonging their stint on each of these tyres in order to avoid coming to pits often. Pit stops around this track will cost you a lot more time than most other GPs, especially with the modifications made to the pit entry.

Circuit Paul Ricard was once extensively used as a test circuit for many years, just like Barcelona at the moment. The circuit offers many different layout combinations, which is one of the main reasons for it to be used as a test circuit. When viewed from a drone or helicopter, you can very well see the layout of the track, which at times might be confusing for a new racing fan. You have to be keen to know which is the track and which isn’t. Going into this weekend, Mercedes are looking ominous with every race victory this season. Ferrari have shown signs of speed and performance and certainly the last race at Canada was a turning point for the team, but you never know if the same trend is going to continue. Knowing how this season of F1 has gone so far, we could never predict who the winner is going to be even after qualifying. Mercedes are the team to beat once again, and with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas showing great speed and performance throughout this season, we are in for a fight.

Both these drivers are leading the pack in terms of drivers championship and even if both of them failed to finish the race at Paul Ricard they’d still be ahead in the standings, which is unlikely, seeing the great run of form the team has had this season. The news has finally come out regarding the Ferrari appeal and as we know it from reliable sources, the FIA has turned down the request from Ferrari to appeal the penalty given to Sebastian Vettel. As with most appeals, the team and driver are unhappy with the outcome of this result, but we need to move on and focus on what is ahead of us. Circuit Paul Ricard seems to be a good hunting ground for Mercedes in particular and they seem to have the pace, but Ferrari and RedBull are still working on improving their cars to match up or even overcome both the qualifying and race pace advantage that the team and drivers are showing so far. With an extended pit lane and speed limit of 60 kph, we expect all teams to bet on one-stop strategy. Mercedes and Ferrari are certainly going to fight for pole. RedBull are going to be there in the mix but we do not expect them to outshine Ferrari and Mercedes at the moment, but you never know. Renault bringing in a lot of upgrades on the engine and aero side of things, we can expect them and McLaren to fight it out for the 4th place. We do not see other teams fighting it out for the 4th team spot as most of them struggle to get their tyres switched on and work in the window that they expect it to. The ever rising and higher track temperatures combined with the newly laid track surface are going to make things challenging for drivers and teams both in qualifying and race.

Circuit Paul Ricard Statistics

First GP - 1971

Number of laps - 53

Circuit length - 5.842 Km

Race distance - 309.69 Km

Lap record - 1:34.225 set by Valtteri Bottas in 2018.