French GP Preview – Mercedes is bringing upgrades for the W13!

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes released the 2022 French Grand Prix preview featuring comments from team boss Toto Wolff. You can read the full preview below!

“Third and fourth in Austria was a satisfying result for the whole team, particularly given the position we were in on Friday evening,” Wolff said.

“The team worked miracles to have two complete race cars ready for the Sprint and Grand Prix. 27 points on Sunday were a good reward for that effort.

“We scored three podiums in the first seven races, and we have now achieved four in the last four. I’m pleased with the momentum we are building, and it reflects the mammoth effort of the team. Our understanding of the W13 is growing with every lap and it’s encouraging to see that reflected in our development and results.

“While we were quicker in Austria, we still weren’t quick enough to challenge at the front. We need to keep chasing those final few tenths and bringing new developments to the cars, including this weekend in France.

“Paul Ricard is a very different track and challenge. It has smooth tarmac and a wide range of corner types, along with long straights. The aim will be to make further inroads on the gap to the front and hopefully be back on the podium.

Nyck [de Vries] is replacing Lewis in first practice this weekend, as part of the allocated sessions for young drivers this year. So, we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets on.


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Fact File: French Grand Prix

  • Nyck de Vries will be driving in place of Lewis Hamilton in FP1. Over the course of the season, each driver is required to give up one of their first practice sessions for a young driver. Lewis has selected FP1 in France for his session, and George’s will take place later in the season.
  • The French Grand Prix returned to the F1 calendar in 2018 at the Circuit Paul Ricard, a track that features 247 possible track configurations – ranging from 0.8 km to 5.86 km – and includes its own sprinkler system, making it possible to simulate wet weather driving on 64 of the different layouts. This variety of configurations makes Paul Ricard interesting as a test track because you can make it something akin to Monza or Monaco or a combination of both circuits.
  • F1 will be run at the Circuit Paul Ricard for the 18th time this season. Three different track variants have been used for hosting F1 races the years, including the 5.810 km layout (1971-1985), the 3.813 km (1986-1990) and the 5.842 km (since 2018). This year will see the circuit draw level with Magny-Cours as the venue to host the most French Grands Prix.
  • The Circuit Paul Ricard has been regularly resurfaced with fresh tarmac and provides a high grip level, compared to other tracks in F1. Plus, the tarmac is very dark in colour, which is why it gets so hot in the sun and can reach temperatures approaching 55°C, one of the year’s highest figures.
  • The Circuit Paul Ricard has an extremely smooth asphalt. However, smooth tarmac also means while tyres don’t wear out as quickly, they are much more difficult to warm up – although the normally high temperatures experienced at the track should help with getting heat into tyres.
  • Although the track is generally very smooth, there is one heavy bump. Turn 5 was remodelled for the 2021 season with the intention to make it a slightly banked entry towards the apex, similar to Turn 4 in Austria but in the end there is now a bump where the track drops away from the car between Turn 4 and Turn 5.
  • Of the 15 turns, 6 are left-hand and 9 are right-handers. Many of the right-hand corners are long sweeping turns, which puts a great deal of stress on front left tyres. All in all, the Circuit Paul Ricard has a good mix of fast, medium and slow corners.
  • One of the circuit’s special features are its brightly coloured run off zones which offer plenty of grip and replace the more usual gravel traps. The blue zone is not especially abrasive and has only a small negative effect on cars going off track while the red zone close to the barriers has a much coarser texture and slows cars down. Both of these distinctive zones use tarmac combined with tungsten to create an abrasive surface that helps reduce car speeds when they exceed track limits.
  • At 424 metres in length, the pit lane is the third-longest on the current Formula One calendar – only Imola and Silverstone are longer.
  • Through the long and sweeping Turn 11, drivers are subjected to maximum lateral g-forces of around 4.6g.
  • Brake cooling at Paul Ricard is not as critical as at some other circuits, because there is enough track between braking zones to allow pads and discs to cool down sufficiently, so overheating is not a particular problem.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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