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Honda F1 French Grand-Prix preview

Honda F1 French Grand-Prix preview

19.06.2019: F1 2019 Round 8 French GP - Welcome home, Pierre! We return to France and Paul Ricard for the second year since its return to the F1 calendar, for what will hopefully be a more memorable weekend than last year for our young Frenchman.

F1 2019 Round 8 French GP -
 




 
Welcome home, Pierre! We return to France and Paul Ricard for the second year since its return to the F1 calendar, for what will hopefully be a more memorable weekend than last year for our young Frenchman.
 


The 2018 race started in a similar fashion to the previous Canadian Grand Prix with us losing a car on the first lap. Starting from 14th Pierre avoided an accident at the first corner, however he was then involved in a collision at turn 4 with a Force India resulting in both cars retiring. Returning to this state-of-the-art track we arrive better prepared than last year, having never run on the circuit before. Keep your eyes on the Mistral straight for overtaking opportunities, where power unit's get a chance to showcase their abilities.
 


 
 
Toyoharu Tanabe
Technical Director, Honda F1   


“We now return to Europe and are preparing for a busy part of the season with five races in seven weekends, starting with the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard has a long tradition in F1 and returned to calendar last year. It features a wide variety of corners, including many long radius turns, as well as one of the fastest corners on the calendar, Signes at the end of the Mistral straight. At the Paul Ricard circuit we will be running an upgraded Spec 3 Power Unit on Max, Pierre and Daniil’s cars.


The changes to the previous specification are mainly around the ICE and the turbocharger. In this instance, our engineers at the Sakura, Japan R&D facility have worked closely with other departments within Honda, specifically the Aero engine development department. Their work and ours has many common technical features. For example, our 2018 update to the MGU-H, which dramatically improved its reliability, came as a result of our collaboration with them. In producing this Spec 3 PU, we have updated the turbocharger thanks to the knowledge and technology of the Aero engine department in the area of aerodynamic design, working alongside turbocharger manufacturer IHI.



Our test bench data shows a power increase over the previous version of our PU, however we know that we have not yet matched the figures from the manufacturers currently leading the championship. But it’s a step in the right direction and we will continue our development throughout the rest of the season, calling on the resources of the whole company.”
 
 
 
Alexander Albon
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda   



“Ricard is actually a track I know fairly well, as I raced there quite a bit in the junior formulas, making it one of the circuits where I have driven the most.



I'm really looking forward to racing at Le Castellet because it feels as though I haven't done a race for a month, given that my Canadian Grand Prix was over on the first lap. There's not much to say about it except that at least it's another box ticked, in that I'd never driven the Montreal track before. I really enjoyed the circuit and the city, so I hope to have a better time there next year.


Paul Ricard is actually a track I know fairly well, as I raced there quite a bit in the junior formulas, making it one of the circuits where I have driven the most. It features on the calendars for lots of categories. It's a very modern facility with big run-off areas and colored stripes, where the paint man went a bit crazy! It means we leave behind the street circuits that I love best.


Last year, I qualified second and retired with an engine problem in the feature race and went from last to P7 in the second race. I enjoyed driving the track and the Signes corner should be impressive in an F1 car, so I'm sure I'll feel it on my neck. It's one of the highest energy corners on the whole calendar. On a qualifying lap it should be fun, especially as it's a bit cambered.


I think this track will suit our car better than Montreal, Ricard has some similarities with Barcelona and we were quite competitive there. So, we can go to the French Grand Prix with a sense of optimism. I like that part of the world, the scenery is great, so let's hope they've sorted the traffic getting in and out!”
 
 


Daniil Kvyat
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda   




“I've raced at Paul Ricard before, but it was a long time ago ? 2011 in Formula Renault Eurocup…
I am looking forward to driving a Formula 1 car around the Paul Ricard circuit for the first time, and I feel our performance there could be better than in the last race in Montreal. We took the long view in Canada, when it was clear that we weren't at the most competitive level, so we had to put together a smart race. I had quite a big fight to stay in the points and in the end we managed it.


The last laps I pushed really hard to overtake the McLaren and I squeezed everything out of the car. Just a single point is still a confidence boost for the team as we start a really busy run of races in Europe.




I've raced at Paul Ricard before, but it was a long time ago ? 2011 in Formula Renault Eurocup. I came second in one race and third in the other and I think the layout we used then was more or less the same as this weekend's, although one corner was different. I don't remember much about the circuit from all those years back and a Formula Renault is very different to an F1 car. Of course, I've tackled the track in the simulator, but I am keen to get out on track on Friday and learn it as quickly as possible.


Ricard is a quick track and, like in Canada, straightline speed will not be the least important thing, but there are also plenty of quick corners and a technical section. So we will try and optimize our package to that circuit and get the very most out of it, just as we have done in recent races.”
 
 


Pierre Gasly
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing   


“It's a really special weekend coming for me, my home race, so I'm really excited to be on track there with all the fans and extra support. I'm fully focused and dedicated to get the best result I can and it would be a special moment to do well in front of my home fans. Quite a lot of people are coming to support me which makes the weekend extra special. It brings good vibes and creates a special atmosphere.



Paul Ricard is also a track I quite like because I had really strong results there in the past, I raced there for the first time in 2011 in F4 and won. To go back there this year with a Red Bull, in a competitive car, makes me excited and I'm ready to give it my all!”
 
 


 
Max Verstappen
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing   



“France is still a very new Grand Prix for F1 which makes it naturally more of a challenge for all teams and I had not raced there before 2018. Last year was good for us, we got the strategy spot on and finished second on the podium which was a good Team result. It's not an easy track with very wide open entries to corners which is different to most other tracks we race on. I think in general it's good to have a Grand Prix in France.



It's a historic track which is well known for its safety, it also attracts lots of fans who love the sport which is great to see, especially for Pierre. It's also not far from home, which makes life a bit easier. We maximized things in Canada and we are working hard to improve all aspects. I feel comfortable in the car so I hope we will be able to challenge the frontrunners more closely in France.”
 
 
 



 
Honda Motor Co. photos Red Bull

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19.06.2019 / MaP

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