On a hot streak, the Kannapolis-based Haas F1 team prepares for the French Grand Prix

KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) — After hosting points-scoring races, the Kannapolis-based Haas F1 team will continue its 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship season with the French Grand Prix, to be held on the Circuit Paul Ricard, which will start the second half of the campaign.

France has a rich history in motor racing, with the first internationally recognized race taking place in 1894, before the term Grand Prix was officially coined in 1906. It was part of the first season of the Formula One World Championship 1 in 1950, with the road circuits of Reims. , Rouen, Clermont Ferrand and the Bugatti Le Mans circuit all staged events in the nascent decades.

In 1973, the French Grand Prix switched to permanent circuits, alternating between Dijon-Prenois and Circuit Paul Ricard, until Magny-Cours took over in 1991. France dropped the calendar after 2008, citing financial problems, but returned to a reprofiled Circuit Paul. Richard in 2018.

Located on a plateau above the vineyards and lavender fields of Provence, the Circuit Paul Ricard was first renovated as a high-speed test track. By the turn of the century, it had innovative concepts, such as lane-side sprinklers and multi-layered runoff in the form of dazzling red and blue stripes designed to reduce car speed at the expense of tire degradation.

Circuit Paul Ricard’s original function as a test facility means it has over 150 possible layouts and Formula 1 uses the 5.8km Grand Prix layout, which includes the north chicane along the straight line of the Mistral.

Haas F1 Team riders Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher have competed in three French Grands Prix. Magnussen finished sixth when he returned from Circuit Paul Ricard in 2018, while Schumacher secured the first Q2 appearance of his Formula 1 career in the 2021 round.

Haas F1 Team enters the second half of the season in a good vein of form, having scored 19 points in the last two Grands Prix, to finish seventh in the constructors’ championship.

Guenther Steiner – Team Leader:

The team scored back-to-back double points at Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring. It’s another achievement for the team this season – what do these results mean to you and what do you think of the team’s current form ahead of these last two races before the break?

“I’m very happy about it but I’m very happy about it for the team because I told them they have to believe in themselves because we’ve done it before and we will do it again, and we have it’s such a great result. I think we have to be careful not to get too excited about the next few races, so we don’t think it’s going to continue easily – it’s very hard work on the part of many We will try our best and hope we can get more points and have a pretty relaxed summer break.

Would you say the Austrian Grand Prix was as close to a perfect weekend as Haas has had recently with strong practice results, Q3 entries for both cars in qualifying, points scored in the Sprint on Saturday and a double-point finish on Sunday? How difficult is it to achieve consistency throughout a race weekend and what helps to bring all the different pieces together?

“I would say it’s been an almost perfect weekend, there’s always room to do better in the race until you win everything, but no one wins everything all the time. It was a really good weekend and everything was executed as best we could, there were no real mistakes, nothing wrong done. Every little step can be better, so we’re making progress and one day, hopefully soon, we’ll get a podium. To pull it all together, it’s a hard working group of people, there’s no secret, it’s just that everyone does their job.

Haas F1 Team jumped to seventh place in the constructors’ championship with 19 points scored in the last two events alone. With missed chances earlier in the season for various reasons, do you think the team’s position should be better and are you reassessing 2022 targets based on recent results?

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if we can stay seventh, or finish sixth, that would be good. I think anything beyond sixth place will be very difficult because the other teams are very good and they are a bit far ahead, if we can continue as we are obviously we will not have weekends of perfect races like the last two. with both cars scoring points, but we just have to keep working hard and maybe we can finish sixth. First of all, we have to make sure we stay seventh.

While the VF-22 proves versatile on a variety of circuits, what are the expectations for this weekend’s French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard. Is it a track that will also suit the characteristics of VF-22 and how important is the momentum given to France thanks to the points from the previous two races?

“Of course the motivation is very high within the team after two weekends like the ones we had at Silverstone and Austria. Our car is pretty good everywhere, I think our weakest point is the tracks. at high speeds like Jeddah and Baku and Spa and Monza. I’m very confident that if we execute well we can still score points. I don’t know how many but the reliability in the last two races was good and I hope it will remain good for the next events before the summer.

Kevin Magnussen – Driver, #20:

For the twelfth round of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, Haas F1 Team is heading to the Côte d’Azur. You scored sixth when Formula 1 returned to France in 2018 – is it a circuit with features you like or does it just offer more opportunities to try out different racing lines thanks to its wide clearances?

“France is a rather unique circuit because it is very flat, it is quite wide in places and there are a lot of clearances. It’s different to drive there compared to the other tracks. We had a good result in 2018 and it’s always nice to go back to places where you’ve had good experiences in the past, so hopefully more good results.

Thinking of the Paul Ricard, the various colored markings around the track have become synonymous with the circuit. As it’s the first time you’ve used the new Pirelli tires on this track, will you be careful during this first practice session?

“It’s been a while now since I’ve driven Formula 1 there, so in FP1 I’m going to get my rhythm back and on this track with all the off-tracks there’s really no risk going. straight up and attack, so I’m going to do that.

The Paul Ricard is a circuit where you can really test the limits of the car before going beyond the limits of the track. Will this be a good test to extract the full potential of the VF-22 before the next race upgrades?

“This will probably be one of or the last race we do with this package before we get the upgrades, so we’re kind of at the end of the life of this package, but there are still things we’re discovering, but it’s obviously getting less and less with each run.The gains we’re seeing are going down, but we’ll still be looking to find every possible gain and make the most of what we have.

We are halfway through this series of four races in July – how do you find such a fast succession of races and do you think it contributes to being in good physical shape or in an ideal world would you have more time to recover and prepare?

“At this stage, it’s good to have as many races as possible for my physical condition. My fitness is pretty good now, just when I’m in the gym or working out, but when I’m in the car it’s basically neck – 80/20. Having all those runs close together is great for building that neck strength.

Mick Schumacher – Pilot, n°47:

For the twelfth round of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, Haas F1 Team is heading to the Côte d’Azur. Last year was a relatively quiet race for you, but is it a track with characteristics that you like or does it just offer more opportunities to try different racing lines thanks to its wide clearances?

“Obviously it’s a track where you usually have the opportunity to push hard enough just because you know you can go over a certain limit sometimes. This is one of those tracks where you can push harder than the other tracks just because you know you have the leak and the chances of you getting close to a wall are pretty slim. Obviously if you make a mistake it’s pretty bad for the tires so obviously you don’t want to do it in a big session but it’s definitely a pretty interesting track. It can be confusing at times due to all the different lines, so it’s not just the viewers who are confused, it can also be the drivers.

The Paul Ricard is a circuit where you can really test the limits of the car before going beyond the limits of the track. Will it be a good test to extract the full potential of the VF-22 before the racing developments?

“We’re always trying to improve our car or we’re always trying to adapt our car to different places. I think we understand our package pretty well, but we’re always trying to maximize it more and learn more and see how we can make it faster. I don’t think Paul Ricard is a special circuit to do that, it’s a circuit like any other circuit. We have fewer fast corners there – there are just one fast corner – which is usually flat anyway in any downforce, so it’s a matter of exploiting the gears on a straight where we haven’t been great this year. I imagine it’s going to be tough, but in a Formula 1 race there’s always a lot of action, sometimes it can be calm and we’re where we are, and sometimes there’s a lot of action and you can pass.We’ll just have to wait and see how the wee k-end unfolds and how we get along.

France was the first time in your F1 career that you reached Q2 in qualifying. Now, a few races after scoring your first points in Formula 1, how fast has a year passed and how does today’s Mick Schumacher feel compared to last year’s rookie?

“Obviously I feel more experienced, I feel a bit more complete but there is still a long way to go. It’s only my second year, there’s so much more to learn in Formula 1 besides racing and every day I try to harness that to see where I can improve and where I still have the feel like you need work.

We are halfway through this series of four races in July – how do you find such a fast succession of races and do you think it contributes to being in good physical shape or in an ideal world would you have more time to recover and prepare?

“I think everyone would like to have more free time, but at the end of the day, it’s our job. I feel like even if we’re not on the race weekend, we’re always ready. It’s not as constant as a 9am to 5pm job, but it varies, it’s a daily job.

Haas F1 Team contributed to this story.

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