French GP BAR Honda preview

2001 French Grand Prix, Magny-Cours 29 June - 1 July * The Circuit Race Distance - 72 laps. 190.069 miles (305.886km) Circuit Length - 2.640 miles (4.248 km) Three-hours from Paris, the Circuit de Nevers has been home to the French Grand...

2001 French Grand Prix, Magny-Cours
29 June - 1 July

* The Circuit

Race Distance - 72 laps. 190.069 miles (305.886km)
Circuit Length - 2.640 miles (4.248 km)

Three-hours from Paris, the Circuit de Nevers has been home to the French Grand Prix since 1991. Described by its critics as a "modern, bland Formula One facility", the eight-turn track is blessed with a smooth surface and generous run-off areas, although its twisty layout means that overtaking possibilities are limited. Despite this, however, unpredictable weather and rapidly changeable track conditions have yielded some dramatic races. Lap times also vary noticeably at Magny-Cours depending on the ambient temperature. In common with other tight circuits, Formula One cars are set up to race with high levels of downforce, without compromising straight-line speed completely.

* The Team

With just one week separating the European and French Grands Prix, the team made the short haul from the Nurburgring to Magny-Cours this week focused on maximising pre-race preparation. British American Racing Honda needs to secure consistent points finishes for the balance of the season and, with this in mind, will be looking to improve significantly on its previous qualifying form and realising the true potential of the car in terms of set-up.

Last week, Jacques Villeneuve drove a committed race throughout but was unable to squeeze any more from the car and came home in 9th place. Olivier Panis suffered an electronics glitch, which caused him to spin off the track and out of his 100th Grand Prix. At Magny-Cours, things can really only get better for British American Racing Honda. Whilst both drivers are eager to drive the team forward, Olivier will have the added morale boost of his home crowd rooting for him in the grandstands:

"I am really looking forward to Magny-Cours - racing in front of your home crowd is always a special feeling. We have a good car this year and I'm sure we can achieve a good result there. I think the French people are very excited because I have a good car and a good team. I think this year there will be more flags for me than ever before! But to be honest I have to treat it as just another race. I like the French people, I like to race in France, and I like Magny-Cours as a circuit, but I need to make good results everywhere. We need to work hard to have the best possible car."

Commenting on the outlook for the 2001 French Grand Prix:

Team Principal and Managing Director Craig Pollock said, "I think the team and the drivers should be complimented on the great job they did at the Nurburgring last weekend. It was very disappointing however that all the hard work resulted in only a 9th place finish. Having said that, everybody's thoughts turned immediately to the challenge of Magny-Cours, where our immediate goal is to get the car to work well for us. Ultimately, we aim to finish in the points and we're optimistic that we can achieve that aim on Sunday."

Technical Director Malcolm Oastler said, "The team had a successful test here at Magny-Cours a month ago so we have to ensure that we match that success here on Sunday. We should be in good shape and although we're back-to-back following the European Grand Prix, we're optimistic that we can improve on our performance with a different approach in a few areas. Bridgestone developed two new tyres from the test in May so we're looking forward to running those and hopefully gaining an advantage. The race should be a challenge though; if the track temperature is as high as when we tested here that will make it tough on the tyres."

-BAR-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve
Teams British American Racing