France last hosted an F1 race in 2008 at the circuit Magny-Cours and after a 10 year hiatus, F1 returns to France to the circuit Paul Ricard with the greatest number of French drivers F1 has seen in a long time.
France has had limited success in F1 with their one and only champion, Alain Prost, taking his 4 titles in the mid-late 80s and early 90s.
The home team, Renault, have been in and out of F1 since debuting in 1977 and due to that competing under various names throughout their time in the sport. Although supplying engines, most famously to Williams, Benetton and Red Bull, the team only have 2 constructor titles to their name which came in 2005 and in 2006.
The Renault name returned to F1 in 2016 as a fully backed team and are taking the steps necessary to be back at the fore-front of F1 once again.
For 2018, France has their own team (Renault) and 3 drivers to cheer on. Can anyone of them score points this weekend?
Renault’s 2018 Season so far
Renault have enjoyed a successful start to the season and sit 4th in the constructors championship. The driver pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr is arguably one of the best on the grid as both are consistent and quick.
After a double-points finish in Canada, in which Hulkenberg and Sainz finished 7th and 8th, Renault are now on 56 points and are ahead of last year’s points tally after just 7 races of 18 points. This result now puts the team 16 points clear of McLaren, who are also powered by Renault.
An outside chance of a podium is on the cards this season if things go the right way.
Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
The super talented Frenchman is enjoying his F1 career so far and has already impressed the more senior team that is Red Bull. Red Bull have put a lot of faith into Gasly – and it’s paying off. Gasly made his F1 debut in last year’s Malaysian GP and has already scored on two occasions this year.
An out-standing drive in Bahrain in which the Toro Rosso driver comfortably finished ahead of the likes of both McLaren’s, both Haas’s and both Renault’s to 4th was an incredible feat after starting the race in 5th.
A 7th place would follow at the Monaco GP in which Gasly showed that he could keep it clean and at the same time, be quick. Gasly currently sits in 11th place with 18 points.
Esteban Ocon (Force India)
Esteban Ocon started his F1 career at Manor Racing and made his debut at the 2016 Belgian GP. The ever consistent Frenchman was promoted to Force India for 2017 in which he failed to score on just 2 occasions.
Although, his start to 2018 has not been ideal. Force India seem to have slipped backwards a bit but the team look to have finally got their rhythm back. Ocon has scored on 3 occasions (10th in Bahrain, 6th in Monaco and 9th in Canada) so far this year and sits in 13th place with 11 points.
As a Mercedes young driver, Ocon has huge potential and the chance to be promoted to the senior team in a year or two’s time.
Romain Grosjean (Haas)
Romain Grosjean has flown the flag for France in the past when joining the sport in 2009 and then rejoining in 2012. Grosjean has been the most successful Frenchman since Prost, picking up 10 podiums along the way. Grosjean was part of the Lotus, then turned Renault team, to the end of 2015 to where he moved to F1 newcomers Haas.
Grosjean has enjoyed his time at Haas so far, picking up in total 57 points in the last two years for the American squad. Grosjean, has yet to score any points this year and finishing just 4 of the 7 races so far in 2018.
It’s time Grosjean got a break in 2018.