Following one race on the North American continent, the FIA Formula One World Championship now returns to Europe for the French Grand Prix from 20 - 22 June. Held at the Magny-Cours circuit in the heart of rural France, the race will be the eighth...
Following one race on the North American continent, the FIA Formula One World Championship now returns to Europe for the French Grand Prix from 20 - 22 June. Held at the Magny-Cours circuit in the heart of rural France, the race will be the eighth round of the 18-round series, and the first of seven consecutive races in Europe.
After a disappointing result in Canada, from which both cars retired before the flag fall, the Force India Formula One Team will be looking for an upturn in fortunes in this 70-lap race.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director
'My key focus is now to oversee the team and ensure that we don't repeat the mistakes that have occurred in previous races. Making mistakes is alright, one has to be practical enough to understand that it happens, but what we need to do now is grow from this, move on and look to have a perfect weekend in France.
'We are in this in business in every seriousness and I see a great future for this team and the chance of really making a splash in 2009 when the regulations change. To do so, and guarantee this future, we now need to concentrate on doing the best job we can right here, right now. As I have said before, at the end of the day every race to me, and hopefully my team, is a learning experience.'
Colin Kolles, team principal
'I hope that France will be kinder to us than Monaco and Canada have been. We have had some problems, for sure, but overall the pace and performance have been good, even if the results have not been there. In the races both drivers have shown they can compete with the group in front and if we can qualify higher up then we stand a better chance of finishing higher.
'From the drivers' point of view Giancarlo has been doing a good job, as expected from someone of his experience, and Adrian has reacted to this.'
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer
'Magny-Cours in France is a more standard circuit compared to the last couple of tracks in Monte Carlo and Montreal, which are both unique. We will not introduce any major changes for this race, the main reason being we are working on a large package of updates for the Silverstone test following this race and the British Grand Prix itself.
'We were not at the test in Barcelona as the logistics for us to test immediately after the flyaway Canada race were very difficult, so we elected to test at Silverstone for one day instead. Obviously we have had some reliability items on the gearbox, so we had a large programme of work aimed at this.
'Overall the main aim for the French Grand Prix has to be to have a two car finish. Canada and Monaco were disappointing as they are races where you can easily pick up places, with safety cars and so on, but we didn't get either cars to the flag. Our race pace is clearly more competitive now but at the moment we make life difficult for ourselves by starting at the back. We really have to address this as quickly as possible.'
'Magny-Cours is actually one of the tracks I do not enjoy on the calendar. It's the circuit where I had my biggest accident in Formula One, back in 2002 and I had to miss the race after crashing in practice so for sure I don't have great memories of it. Also I don't see any particular challenge with it. As you know though, in our job you have to accept the good and the bad.
'Under normal conditions we need to finish the race, as we have not seen the chequered flag for the last three events. I'm still disappointed about Canada as I could not show my true colours on a circuit I love so much, but we have more races this year, and more chances to show what we can do.'
'Actually I quite like Magny-Cours. I know a lot of drivers don't enjoy it, but it's one of my favourite tracks as I like the layout with the quick chicane, the long right hander through the corner to the straight, the hairpin - it's exactly what I like and I already know I am quite quick around there! I've had some good results in F3 there, and then did my first F1 practice at the track too. Now with some race experience I've got a lot of good memories.
'I hope now I can get another good memory from France. The last two races have been disappointing in results, with two DNFs which is never good, but we have been quite competitive in the races. In Monaco especially, but in Canada also I was very close to the Toyotas, but just couldn't find a way past. It could have been a good race, it was a shame not to finish.
'I hope then in Magny-Cours we are able to do a really great race. I have experience now, I know the track so I am really confident I can do well. We are also getting better in qualifying, but are just not close enough to get into Q2. We have to work on this in France.'
French Grand Prix information
The French Grand Prix is held at the 4.411km Circuit de Nevers located in the Loire region on the edge of the Sancerre winelands, two hours' drive south from Paris. Located in the geographic middle of France, ambient temperatures can be scorching, although rain can happen too - and when it rains, it rains hard.
The circuit features 12 turns with a variety of flowing, curving bends, straights and tight hairpins. Although noticeably smooth with large run-off areas, the circuit is not reknowned for its overtaking possibilities. The Adelaide hairpin, which connects two straights in the middle point of the lap, is the main overtaking zone or alternatively the Lycee corner at the end of the lap.
This year's race will be the 58th French Grand Prix, but only the 13th held at Magny-Cours after the government-backed track was given the race in 1991 to generate economy in the rural location. Previously the French Grand Prix has been held in Paul Ricard - now a popular test venue for teams - Dijon, Rouen, Le Mans and Clermont-Ferrand.
-credit: force inda