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Old 22 Jul 2022, 05:45 (Ref:4120096)   #1
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French Grand Prix 2022: Grand Prix Weekend Thread - Round 12 of 22

The history

It was perhaps surprising to see the French Grand Prix off the calendar for ten years, prior to its revival in 2018. It is indeed from France that the term 'Grand Prix' derived. The inaugural Grand Prix was organised by the Automobile Club de France and held on 26th and 27th June 1906 on a 103.18-kilometre layout that went towards the outskirts of Le Mans and near several villages and towns.

There were ten French manufacturers, two from Italy (including FIAT) and one from Germany (Mercedes). Cars started at ninety-second intervals and the winning car was a Renault, driven by Hunagarian Ferenc Szisz in 12 hours 14 minutes. Regulations included a maximum weight limit and fuel consumption of 30 litres per 100 kilometres. In the intervening 115 years, this technology and performance-driven sport has, of course, changed enormously, and during that time the French Grand Prix has played quite a major part in its history, with the race featuring in many guises.

In 1907 and 1908, Dieppe held the Grand Prix, at which time the regulations had both a minimum weight and a maximum cylinder bore, but no fuel consumption limit. After a three-year hiatus, the race returned to Dieppe in 1912, with Coupe de l’Auto cars permitted alongside Grand Prix cars. The Coupe cars had 3-litre engines, while the Grand Prix cars were limited only by a minimum width of 1750mm. Georges Boillot won the 1539.778 km-race by thirteen minutes in his Peugeot.

The 1913 race was held on a public road circuit in Amiens, moving to Lyon in 1914. Mercedes took the first three spots. Grand Prix racing resumed after World War 1 in 1921 on the Circuit de a Sarthe of Le Mans. The 517.80-kilometre race took a little over four hours to complete by the winner, American Jimmy Murphy in his Duesenberg. Winning driver of the 1907 Dieppe race, Felice Nazzarro, won in 1922 in Strasbourg in a Fiat. Henry Segrave won in his Sunbeam at Tours in 1923 and Giuseppe Campari in an Alfa Romeo in 1924 at Lyon.

The Grand Prix then moved over subsequent years from circuits at Montlhéry, Miramas and Saint-Gaudens. In 1925, Antonio Ascari (father of world champion Alberto) perished in an accident at Montlhéry, as Robert Benoist and Albert Divo shared winning honours in a Delage.

The race then went to Saint-Gaudens, Le Mans and next to Pau, although not on the street track used in more modern eras. The 1928 installment was run for sportscars and featured four 10-lap heats and a final handicap race of 10 laps and was won by William Grover-Williams. After the 1.5-litre formula of 1926 and 1927 had yielded poor entries and the sportscar race, there were no engine restrictions in 1929, with Williams the winner again in a Bugatti T25B. The Grand Prix went back once again to Montlhéry in 1931, and was held over ten hours, most teams fielded two drivers per car. Louis Chiron and Achille Varzi took winning honours in the Bugatti T51.

The 1932 French Grand Prix took place at Reims and formed part of the European Championship, and the remaining races before World War 2 were held at these two venues.

In 1947, the French Grand Prix resumed in Lyon, where Louis Chiron came through the order to win in the Talbot-Lago MC, before moving to Reims. The first Formula 1 World Championship French Grand Prix in 1950 was won by Juan Manuel Fangio in an Alfa Romeo. The following year saw one of three occasions where there was more than one winning driver, due to shared cars, with Fangio and Luigi Fagioli taking the spoils for Alfa Romeo. After a misfire in Fangio’s car, Fagioli gave up his and swapped with him during his pit stop. He was angry at having to change, finishing down in 11th in Fangio’s car, and he soon quit the team. Alberto Ascari also took over José Froilán Gonzalez’s Ferrari and they jointly shared second place.

The race moved to Rouen-les-Essarts in 1952 and the rest of the races until 1964 were held either there or at Reims. 1953 saw an excellent battle between Fangio and Mike Hawthorn for the lead, with the latter prevailing. There was other Grand Prix racing in France too. Bordeaux hosted its own non-championship race various times on a street track in the city, with luminaries such as Alberto Ascari, José Froilán Gonzalez and Jean Behra among the winners.

The 1955 French Grand Prix was cancelled due to the Le Mans tragedy. It was Hawthorn who, about to lap Fangio in the Argentinian’s last race, slowed down to let him cross the line first and be able to complete his final lap. After the race moved to Clermont-Ferrand, the short Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans was used in 1967, but only lasted a year. Rouen held the event for the last time in 1968 and the race returned to Clermont-Ferrand, with the French Grand Prix moving to Paul Ricard, near Marseilles, for the first time in 1971. After a race at Clermont-Ferrand the following year, the French Grand Prix alternated between Paul Ricard and Dijon-Prenois until 1985, after which point a shortened Paul Ricard circuit was used until 1990.

It was at Dijon in 1979 that René Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve banged wheels in their late battle for second place. It was a Ferrari sandwich, with the 1.6-litre turbocharged Renaults of Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Arnoux taking 1st and 3rd place, the first victory in Formula 1 for a turbocharged engine. The use of the short version of Paul Ricard followed Elio de Angelis’s fatal testing accident a few months earlier at the fast Verrerie bends, the last death of a driver in Formula 1 until the San Marino Grand Prix 1994.

In 1990, the Adrian Newey-designed Leyton House cars of Ivan Capelli and Mauricio Gugelmin amazed many by running first and second for the majority of the race. After Gugelmin was passed by Alain Prost, his engine expired after 58 laps, while Capelli had engine difficulties too and was overtaken by Prost on Lap 77 of 80. Capelli held on to finish second.

In 1991, the race moved to Magny-Cours. Although not universally popular as a venue, in part perhaps unfairly attributed to its remote location, it didn’t always produce bad races. In 1999, the top three in qualifying after a wet session was Rubens Barrichello in the Stewart, Jean Alesi in the Sauber and Olivier Panis in the Prost. Heinz-Harald Frentzen ended the race on top in the Jordan Mugen-Honda. The race started dry before it rained heavily and involved Mika Hakkinen spinning, Michael Schumacher dropping back due to an electrical problem, Hakkinen passing Frentzen and the Jordan driver ultimately coming out on top after Hakkinen had to pit for fuel.

In 2000, David Coulthard took what he has sometimes cited as his best victory, closing in on Michael Schumacher and being denied an overtake following robust defence, which incurred the McLaren driver's wrath as he showed Michael the finger, before later getting by.

Two years later, Kimi Räikkönen locked up at the big hairpin, letting Schumacher through and losing the opportunity for his first win, while in 2004, Rubens Barrichello made an opportunist move on Renault's Jarno Trulli to snatch the final podium spot.

In 2018, on the race's return to Paul Ricard, it was Lewis Hamilton who won in a commanding Mercedes performance, from Max Verstappen. Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas collided on the opening lap, for which the Ferrari driver earned a 5-second penalty. They finished down in 5th and 7th respectively.

In 2019, Hamilton won again, from Bottas and Charles Leclerc. A superb last lap battle for the lower points-paying positions took place, with Räikkönen coming out on top and Daniel Ricciardo being penalised for being off-track while overtaking. There was no Grand Prix in 2020.

Last year, Verstappen qualified on pole, but Hamilton slipped by early on. Later, the eventual world champion made an extra pit stop and caught and passed Hamilton to take the lead on the penultimate lap and go on to win from him and his Red Bull team-mate, Sergio Pérez.

What are your French Grand Prix memories?


Trivia

The French Grand Prix was the original 'Grand Prix'.

Michael Schumacher has won the French Grand Prix more times than any other driver with eight victories.

Ferrari have the most victories of the manufacturers, with 17.

Of the current field, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have won.

The race has featured four victories by two drivers in one car - in 1925, 1931, 1936 and 1951.


The track




Other information

Circuit length: 5.842 km
Number of laps: 53
Race distance: 309.69 km
Race Lap Record: 1:32.740 (Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari - 2019)
Dry weather tyre compounds: C2, C3 & C4

First French Grand Prix: 1906
First World Championship French Grand Prix: 1950
First Grand Prix at this circuit: 1971
First Grand Prix on this configuration: 2018

Join in the fun with the F1 Predictions Contest and Fantasy F1:

https://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=157304

https://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=156986
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 06:47 (Ref:4120098)   #2
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Fab intro BR, as always

Gilles v Rene is one of the best battles ever and Capelli almost winning also stands out of those you mentioned.

I also love seeing the 1st corner shunt from 1989, incredible pile up and thankfully nobody wss hurt. That event also marked the debuts of Alesi, Donnelly and Bernard, 3 young drivers that were all tipped for bright futures in F1.
Then the other one is 2003 when Monster Montoya 'blew up deluxe' on the radio after he felt Williams favoured Ralfie in the pit stops and prevented him winning.
Shortly after that it was revealed he had signed for Mclaren for 2005 which in retrospect undid the full potential of what was looking like a great career for Monster in F1.
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 07:49 (Ref:4120102)   #3
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billy bleach should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridbilly bleach should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
What happened to Grojeans Mercedes test?
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 07:51 (Ref:4120104)   #4
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What happened to Grojeans Mercedes test?
https://www.gpfans.com/en/f1-news/87...es-test-delay/
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 09:07 (Ref:4120115)   #5
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Great intro as always BR. Some great history from the country where it all started. A travesty it was off the calendar for nearly 10 years
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 12:32 (Ref:4120128)   #6
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Lancsbreaker has a real shot at the podium!Lancsbreaker has a real shot at the podium!Lancsbreaker has a real shot at the podium!Lancsbreaker has a real shot at the podium!
First free practice starting soon - let's see how the much-vaunted Mercedes upgrades perform
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 13:36 (Ref:4120132)   #7
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djinvicta has a real shot at the podium!djinvicta has a real shot at the podium!djinvicta has a real shot at the podium!djinvicta has a real shot at the podium!djinvicta has a real shot at the podium!
Wow! Intro fantastic as normal BR.
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 17:06 (Ref:4120153)   #8
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Excellent intro as ever.

After Ferrari and Leclerc's win in Austria, over Red Bull and Verstappen, can they maintain the upper hand with their new floor design?

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/f...prix/10341141/

As for the future of the French GP itself, there is this from Autosport:

''The race at Paul Ricard is also under great pressure due to a lack of popularity, both among drivers and fans. The accessibility and facilities also leave something to be desired. The race does not meet the entertainment value that Formula 1 demands. It is possible that a rotation schedule with a race in Belgium or Germany will be devised, but the chance of France having a permanent place on the calendar in the coming years seems small.''

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1...ndar/10330733/
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 18:04 (Ref:4120158)   #9
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So after two practice sessions, Ferrari hold bragging rights, although with Sainz going to lose grid places for (at least) an ECU replacement after his brew-up at the last race, with Verstappen in third and Russell and Hamilton taking fourth and fifth. Biggest surprise is Perez, only just sneaking into the top ten.....
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 19:00 (Ref:4120161)   #10
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Biggest surprise is Perez, only just sneaking into the top ten.....
I believe he had an issue on his first low fuel soft tyre run, maybe a broken rollbar was mentioned. Anyway he was straight in the garage for a fix and spent some time there. By the time he came out again it was more a priority to get some long run tyre data than set a fast time. That is my understanding.
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Old 22 Jul 2022, 23:38 (Ref:4120173)   #11
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If this is indeed the final Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, I wonder if it would ever be possible to move the French Grand Prix back to public roads safely (although barriers would of course be required nowadays), in the style of Reims-Gueux or Rouen-Les-Essarts. It isn’t quite what Liberty Media want in their Super Bowl-style vision but a street track in the French countryside would be far more interesting than a street track that is part of a city car park.
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Old 23 Jul 2022, 06:30 (Ref:4120184)   #12
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Plantagenet should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridPlantagenet should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridPlantagenet should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
I think it is a real shame that for all of the French history in the sport, this round at Paul Ricard is possibly the weakest on the whole schedule.
Does anybody know what plans there could be for a future French GP location? I like your suggestion BtCC frog but I can’t see a road race becoming a reality - witness the issues with the TT and I think making it sufficiently safe would be economically unviable.
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Old 23 Jul 2022, 06:34 (Ref:4120185)   #13
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bathurst77 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridbathurst77 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridbathurst77 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
I thought Oscar P was down for fp1 this weekend, Disappointed not to see him having a crack
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Old 23 Jul 2022, 06:53 (Ref:4120186)   #14
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I thought Oscar P was down for fp1 this weekend, Disappointed not to see him having a crack
Piastri will get practice slot with Alpine after August break

'Asked whether Piastri might get an outing at this month's French Grand Prix, Szafnauer said that was not the plan.

"Oscar will be running in free practice for us but it will be after the break," he said.'
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Old 23 Jul 2022, 07:25 (Ref:4120187)   #15
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Ferrari setting the pace in practice. They are definitely on for another win, although it's a shame Sainz will have to take a grid penalty

Not a bad session for de Vries in his first time competing in a race weekend for Merc
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