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To circuits
fra

French GP

Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet
  • FP1 22 Jul 2022 -
  • FP2 22 Jul 2022 -
  • FP3 23 Jul 2022 -
  • Quali 23 Jul 2022 -
  • Race 24 Jul 2022 -

Stats

First held 1950
Laps 53
Circuit length 5.842 kilometer
Fastest lap 1:32.740 (2019)
Winner 2019 Lewis Hamilton
Second in 2019 Valtteri Bottas
Third in 2019 Charles Leclerc

Winners

Winner 2019 Lewis Hamilton
Winner 2018 Lewis Hamilton
Winner 2008 Felipe Massa
Winner 2007 Kimi Raikkonen
Winner 2006 Michael Schumacher

Held at several venues over the years, the French Grand Prix has once again settled at the Circuit Paul Ricard after returning to the F1 calendar in 2018. The track is known for its distinctive blue and red striped run off areas that replaced the gravel traps of old.

F1 French Grand Prix 2021

One of the oldest motor races in the world, France has the distinction of holding the first Grand Prix.

While the French GP was removed from the F1 calendar after the 2008 season, it has since returned with the Circuit Paul Ricard hosting the event since 2018.

Although the race has taken place for many years, the location of the Grand Prix has changed frequently with 16 different venues having hosted the French GP. The only race to feature more venues is the Australian GP, which has taken place at 23 different track.

The French GP, along with the Belgian, Italian and Spanish Grand Prix, has the distinction of being part of three different Grand Prix championships (World Manufacturers' Championship, European Championship and the F1 World Championship).

History

France was one of the first countries to host a motor racing event. The first event took place on July 22, 1894 and was a Horseless Carriages Contest from Paris to Rouen organised by the Automobile Club de France (ACF). Count Jules-Albert de Dion won in his steam powered car in just under seven hours.

The French GP was first run on June 26, 1906 with 32 cars on the grid and the first events were held on public roads nears towns such as L Mans, Dieppe, Amiens, Lyon, Strasbourg and Tours. The First World War brought an end to racing in the country and the event didn't return until 1921.

Included in the first year of the F1 World Championship in 1950, the French GP took place at the Reimx-Gueux Circuit and was won by Maserati's Juan Manuel Fangio. The Argentine also took the race the following year in the longest F1 race ever held in terms of distance covered, totalling 373 miles.

The 1955 French GP was cancelled due to the Le Mans disaster that killed 83 spectators and led to Mercedes withdrawing from all racing at the end of the year, though it returned to the calendar the following year. The 1957 edition was marred by the death of Ferrari's Luigi Musso in what proved to be Fangio's final F1 race.

The short Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans hosted the race in 1967 but was never used again after that, while Rouen-Les-Essarts held the French GP the next year only for Jo Schlesser to crash and die at the fast Six Freres corner. As a result F1 did not return to the public-road circuit.

Paul Ricard enters the scene in 1971, alternating with Dijon-Prenois from 1974 to 1984. The 1979 race saw Rene Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve battle it for second in one of the greatest duels the sport has seen with the latter getting the better, though Arnoux's French teammate Jean-Pierre Jabouille took the chequered flag.

Alain Prost took the first of 51 victories at the 1981 French GP, though home fans were given a treat the following year with French drivers claiming the top four spots as Arnoux took the chequered flag.

With FISA instituting a policy of long-term contracts with only one circuit per Grand Prix, the decision was made to race at Paul Ricard. From 1986 onwards the shorter version of the track was used following Elio de Angelis' fatal crash at the Verriere bends. The crash, which happened during testing, didn't injure the Italian, however a lack of marshals proved fatal as he died of smoke inhalation a day later.

The race moved to the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in 1991 and remained there until 2008. Magny-Cours was the seventh venue to host a French GP in F1, and the sixteenth in total, and was done in a bid to stimulate the economy in the area, though many within the sport didn't enjoy the remote nature of the track.

Prost took the final of six French GP victories in 1993, while Michael Schumacher clinched the 2002 World Championship after just 11 races. Financial issues arose in 2004 and 2005, and while Magny-Cours hosted the race until 2008, it was the last French GP for 10 years.

Absence and F1 return

While a makeover of Many-Cours was planned, they were cancelled in the end as FFSA promoters began looking for an alternative venue.

Five different proposals were looked at including Rouen, a street circuit near Disneyland Resort Paris, Versailles and Sarcelles but nothing materialised.

In December 2016 it was announced that the French GP would return in 2018 at the Circuit Paul Ricard, which has a contract that runs until at least 2022. While the 2020 race was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it returned in 2021 with Max Verstappen taking the chequered flag.

Most successful F1 drivers and teams

Schumacher leads the way in terms of French GP success, winning the event on eight different occasions. Home fans were treated to six wins by Prost, while Monegasque driver Louis Chiron won on French soil five times though none were part of the F1 World Championship. Juan Manuel Fangio and Nigel Mansell took four victories in France, while Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart claimed three wins each.

As for constructors, Ferrari lead the way with 17 wins though their last triumph in France dates back to 2008. Williams have eight victories while Mercedes and Lotus have both won seven times.

The French Grand Prix 2020

The race wasn’t held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2019 edition saw Mercedes complete a front-row lockout, with Lewis Hamilton claiming victory from pole ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Charles Leclerc took home third for Ferrari, while the last lap saw Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkeberg battle for the final points position, with the Australian later handed two five-second penalties and ultimately being classified in 11th spot.

When is the 2021 French Grand Prix on the F1 calendar?

The French Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on the weekend of June 18-20 and is provisionally set to be the seventh race of the Formula 1 season. The first two free practice sessions will take place on June 18 with qualifying on Saturday June 19 at 15:00 CET.

What time does the French Grand Prix start?

The French Grand Prix starts on Sunday June 20, 2021 at 15:00 CET. The race can be followed live on RacingNews365's blog and watched on F1 TV.

F1 French GP 2021 Schedule

Session Date Time (UK)
Free Practice 1 Friday 18 June 10:00 - 11:00
Free Practice 2 Friday 18 June 14:00 - 15:00
Free Practice 3 Saturday 19 June 11:00 - 12:00
Qualifying Saturday 19 June 14:00 - 15:00
Race Sunday 20 June 14:00
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