French GP: Sauber preview

Following the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis which marked the halfway point of the season, the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship returns to Europe for the French Grand Prix, the 10th round on 4 July. Willy Rampf (Technical ...

Following the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis which marked the halfway point of the season, the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship returns to Europe for the French Grand Prix, the 10th round on 4 July.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Magny-Cours is about tyre degradation and temperature. The surface is very smooth and that means that tyre degradation is high as the cars naturally tend to slide around. The level of grip is very sensitive to the ambient temperature and therefore the track temperature. This effect is more pronounced here than at any other track we visit. We use high downforce to generate maximum grip and counteract the sliding problem, and as part of this tyre choice is very crucial."

"The only real overtaking point is the Adelaide hairpin. You need good brake stability there. And because there is a wide run-off area on the exit it is the right place for a driver to take a risk with some late braking. Traction is also important, especially out of the last corner where your exit speed influences the amount of pace you carry out of the corner as well as your maximum tempo across the start/finish lane and through the first turn."

"We are hopeful of a strong race and will be running a new front wing that we tested last week in Barcelona."

Giancarlo Fisichella (132 GPs, 10 points 2004):

"Magny-Cours has tended to be a difficult track for me, and I crashed heavily there in practice and missed the 2002 race. It's a smooth track, but to be honest you don't really notice that when you're driving. You just take it for granted. It makes it slightly easier to set up the car on one hand, but its sensitivity to temperature has the opposite effect. It's hard on tyres, and it's very important to have good traction. The C23 has that, and as we will have some more new aerodynamic parts for the race I think we can do well."

Felipe Massa (25 GPs, 5 points 2004):

"For sure you need lots of downforce as there are several slow corners, and it's important to find the best tyre choice as the tyre degradation is very high. It's a difficult circuit on which to overtake and it has a strange surface: In the dry it eats tyres, in the wet it is very slippery. I had my worst race of 2002 there; I jumped the start by accident, so I am hoping to do a lot better this year and to break the run of bad luck I've had in the past few races."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Felipe Massa
Teams Sauber