The Paul Ricard circuit measures 5,8 km making it one of the longest on the F1 calendar. Like Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone this above-average length is a guarantee of variety, pleasure and spectacle for drivers and fans alike.
A multidisciplinary team got down to examining the layout in collaboration with the FIA and the FOM. Studies and tests were carried out. It was a question of adapting it to the requirements of Formula 1, and making it a technical and sporting setting in which the drivers would be able to display the full measure of their talent in complete safety without watering down the original character of the layout. Concerning the latter point Paul Ricard is a benchmark.
The track will be widened at the entry and the exit of certain corners, sometimes both, at the la Verrerie Esses, the virage du Camp and at the end of the third sector in the Virage du Pont. The aim is to create braking and acceleration zones requiring different trajectories to facilitate smoothness and overtaking. At la Verrerie, the angle of the entry to this string of corners will be tightened up to ensure heavier braking at the end of the pits straight.
The chicane that will cut the Mistral straight in two will provide marvellous opportunities for overtaking and give the track a certain prestige with a layout consisting of three straights. The flow of corners is varied and the speeds will be pretty high as the cars will race in a medium downforce setup.
Jean Alesi, the Paul Ricard circuit ambassador, took the initiative to show the layout to different drivers. They are the best judges of the quality of the challenge they’ll have to face and the overtaking opportunities that a circuit can offer. Like Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raïkkönen they are all very enthusiastic about coming to race on the Paul Ricard circuit.