French Grand Prix - facts and figures 30 Jun 2007
The French Grand Prix has been a fixture on the Formula One calendar for over fifty years, but just how much do you know about its history?
- The French Grand Prix is one of the most historic races on the Formula One racing calendar, having been staged every year bar one (1955) since the inception of the world championship in 1950. Magny-Cours, which hosted its first race in 1991, is one of seven circuits to have held the event.
- The original Magny-Cours track, opened in 1960, was just over a mile in length and by 1969 the track record stood at just 49 seconds. The current circuit is 2.7 miles, or 4.411 kilometres, long.
- Nigel Mansell won the first French Grand Prix to be held at Magny-Cours for Williams, after a fierce battle with the Ferrari of Alain Prost. Williams remain the second most successful squad at the track, having clinched five wins, eight poles and five fastest laps. Ferrari have won the most at the Nevers circuit, with six victories, all courtesy of former driver Michael Schumacher.
- Magny-Cours is one of the toughest circuits on the calendar for brakes. The Adelaide hairpin alone sees drivers subjected to up to 4g as they brake from 300 km/h to 60 km/h. The French circuit also boasts an exceptionally smooth surface, which means the teams can run cars with stiff suspension and a very low ride height.
- In 1961, Ferrari driver Giancarlo Baghetti made history after winning the French Grand Prix on his world championship debut. Baghetti had started the race 12th on the grid. Ralf Schumacher (2001), Damon Hill (1993), Jochen Rindt (1968) and Lorenzo Bandini (1966) all scored the maiden pole position of their Formula One careers at the French Grand Prix.
- Red Bulls David Coulthard has scored the greatest number of fastest laps at Magny-Cours. Coulthard clocked the best time at the French circuit every year from 1998 to 2002 for former team McLaren.
- This year, Formula One racings official tyre supplier, Bridgestone, will take 2,200 soft and medium compound tyres to Magny-Cours.
- Michael Schumacher has had the most success in France with eight wins. Alain Prost is the second most successful driver with six victories. Of the grids current crop of drivers only David Coulthard (2000), Ralf Schumacher (2003) and Fernando Alonso (2005) have won the French race.
- Although Rubens Barrichello has been on the French Grand Prix podium four times, he has never won the race. Fellow Brazilian Ayrton Senna was equally unlucky in France, only appearing on the podium three-times during his 11 year career.
- There are nine right-hand corners and eight left-hand corners at Magny-Cours. Drivers will spend 64 percent of the lap at full-throttle and will change gear a total of 37 times.