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Magny Cours - France 28th - 30th June 1996 The Formula One teams begin their traditional summer journey through Europe with the French Grand Prix at the Nevers-Magny Cours ciruit, in Central...

Magny Cours - France 28th - 30th June 1996

The Formula One teams begin their traditional summer journey through Europe with the French Grand Prix at the Nevers-Magny Cours ciruit, in Central France. Over the next three months, they will travel to England, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, before setting off to Japan for the final round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in early October.

The 4.250km-long Circuit de Nevers-Magny Cours, situated south-east of Orleans, opened to motor racing in 1990. It is by far the smoothest of all the Formula One venues on the calendar, with similar features to Barcelona - another new track. "This circuit is quite tricky from the set-up point of view", commented Marlboro McLaren Mercedes driver David Coulthard, who finished third in last year's Grand Prix. "A lot of homework will be needed to get the right car balance". No doubt that the contribution of Alain Prost, winner at Magny-Cours in 1990 and 1993, will be particularly valuable to the team.

Despite scoring four points last year, David remembers the 1995 event as an ordeal: "I was just recovering from a tonsillitis operation and I felt very drained getting into the Grand Prix weekend," he recalls. "The Magny-Cours circuit is quite demanding physically, with the temperatures often soaring and the track conditions becoming very tough. It was very difficult for me to finish the race and I should enjoy it a lot more this year just from the fact that I am fully fit for it!"

Halfway into the season, David and his teammate Mika Hakkinen are fifth and seventh respectively in the Driver's Championship table. In the fourth, five points behind title holders Benetton, and will be looking close to the gap on the World Champions before competing in front of the British crowd in two weeks' time.

The team had a productive testing session at Silverstone last week, with Mika successfully submitting the revised specification Mercedes engine to a full race distance and setting encouraging times.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Alain Prost
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Benetton