Connect with us

2018 F1

Test layouts, traffic jams – Baptism of fire for French GP circuit Paul Ricard

Published

on

Paul Ricard is having a baptism of fire as the first French grand prix venue in a decade.

A big crowd descended on the Slavica Ecclestone-owned circuit on Friday, but many got stuck in huge traffic jams and missed the start of practice.

One said she was stuck in exactly the same place in traffic for two hours.

“After a while, we moved forward only because others in front of us were turning around,” she told L’Equipe.

“This is the last time I will come to Le Castellet!”

Another said: “I don’t know if I would risk coming back tomorrow (Saturday).”

Force India sporting boss Otmar Szafnauer also had problems, saying it took two hours for him to travel the 15 kilometres to the circuit.

“That’s just ridiculous,” he scolded.

“I had an appointment with a guest who flew to France especially, but he was stuck in a traffic jam for so long that he had to go back to the airport.

“For me it’s not a big issue as it’s my job, but if I was a fan and I needed two hours to travel seven kilometres, I would think twice about coming back,” Szafnauer added.

Even the F1 drivers were not immune to the chaos. Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean were riding motorcycles to the circuit on Friday and were told by police to go back.

“We wanted to go on but they wouldn’t let us,” Grosjean revealed. “I explained that we are drivers and without drivers there is no show. They told us ‘We don’t care’.

“It’s a shame and a bit surprising,” he added.

Another issue at Paul Ricard is the actual circuit, with many drivers struggling to make out the correct corners due to the 180 possible test layouts.

Sebastian Vettel, who at one point almost turned in for the wrong corner in Friday practice, admitted: “I’ve never had so much trouble getting used to a track.”

Circuit designer Hermann Tilke explained: “Actually, this was designed as a test track, not for racing.

“That’s why there are so many run-off zones. We didn’t want cars to be damaged every time there is an accident.”

But Carlos Sainz concluded: “There is an element of risk that is missing.”

The asphalt is also patchy with different levels of grip.

“It’s a slightly strange feeling as you go from a section with normal grip to a section with high grip. We need to be careful about that,” said Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg.

Comments

Latest Results




Latest F1 News

2018 F11 month ago

Lauda announces 2019 grand prix return

Niki Lauda has allayed fears that he might not return to his post at the grands prix with Mercedes. In...

2018 F11 month ago

Sauber still building staff numbers – Vasseur

Sauber is still building up its staff numbers, boss Frederic Vasseur has revealed. The Swiss team almost collapsed two years...

2018 F11 month ago

Red Bull ‘will look to Verstappen’ in 2019 – Horner

Max Verstappen will have a more significant role at Red Bull next year. That is the view of Christian Horner,...

2018 F11 month ago

London could join Silverstone in F1 – Brawn

Ross Brawn says a grand prix in the centre of London would be “unacceptable”. But the F1 sporting chief thinks...

2018 F11 month ago

Kubica not offended by Vettel comments

Robert Kubica says he is not offended by comments made by quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari’s Vettel said that...

2018 F11 month ago

Verstappen happy with Ricciardo replacement

Max Verstappen says he is happy with Red Bull’s pick for his new teammate. The Dutchman says he cannot understand...

2018 F11 month ago

Renault to keep working over Christmas

Staff at Renault’s works F1 team will work throughout the Christmas and New Year period. That is the news from...

2018 F11 month ago

Force India to launch 2019 car in Canada

Force India has become the second F1 team to announce a reveal date for its 2019 car. Ferrari boss Maurizio...

2018 F11 month ago

“it was a difficult experience, but it made me stronger,”- Sirotkin

Sergey Sirotkin says his aim is to return to formula one in 2020. The Russian has been replaced at Williams...

2018 F11 month ago

McLaren success is ‘long term’ aim – Sainz

Carlos Sainz says McLaren is aiming for success only in the medium to long term. The Spaniard says he is...




Most Popular

ThisisF1.com is not affiliated with Formula 1, Formula One Management, Formula One Administration, Formula One Licensing BV, Formula One World Championship Ltd or any other organization or entity associated with the official Formula One governing organizations or their shareholders. Copyrighted material used under Fair Use/Fair Comment.

References
We could use the following leading F1 news sources for stories: SkyF1, BBC F1, Autosport, ESPN F1, FIA Media Center, MotorSport, JamesAllen and others leading authors blog.

All Rights Reserved © 2017 Prime Sport Media