French Grand Prix, Magny-Cours, 70 laps

1.  RAIKKONEN    Ferrari       1hm30m54.200s
2.  MASSA        Ferrari       +2.4s
3.  HAMILTON     McLaren       +29.7s

4.  KUBICA       BMW           +41.7s
5.  HEIDFELD     BMW           +48.8s
6.  FISICHELLA   Renault       +52.2s
7.  ALONSO       Mclaren       +56.5s
8.  BUTTON       Honda         +58.8s
9.  ROSBERG      Williams      +1m08.5s
10. SCHUMACHER   Toyota        +1 lap
11. BARRICHELLO  Honda         +1 lap
12. WEBBER       Red Bull      +1 lap
13. COULTHARD    Red Bull      +1 lap
14. WURZ         Williams      +1 lap
15. KOVALAINEN   Renault       +1 lap
16. SATO         Super Aguri   +2 laps
17. SUTIL        Spyker        +2 laps
R.  SPEED        Toro Rosso    +15 laps
R.  LIUZZI       Toro Rosso    +42 laps
R.  DAVIDSON     Super Aguri   +69 laps
R.  TRULLI       Toyota        +69 laps
R.  ALBERS       Spyker        +70 laps

Fastest lap: MASSA  1m16.099s

Magny-Cours back in favour?

By Premal Shah on
It looks as though Magny-Cours will be back on the F1 calendar in 2008, and possibly even 2009.Speaking at the Nurburgring at the weekend, following speculation that there had been a change of heart over the decision to drop the track from the F1 schedule, Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that talks were ongoing.The speculation followed a statement issued by the FFSA last week in which the French motorsport authority reaffirmed its determination to continue hosting a round of the World...Read Full Story

France still hoping to host race in 2008

By Premal Shah on
Linked from --- The French motorsport federation, the FFSA, has said it is determined there will be a French Grand Prix in 2008, despite previously ruling out next year’s race returning to Magny-Cours, the rural venue that has hosted the event since 1991. Back in March, the FFSA suspended the inscription of the race on the 2008 calendar as it felt that “the conditions of a successful event” could not be guaranteed. However, on Friday...Read Full Story

France race analysis - Ferrari are back!

By Premal Shah on
Linked from --- That news, so clearly demonstrated at Magny-Cours, has given the world championship fight a fresh injection of adrenaline, just as it seemed that McLaren were about to start dominating. Asked what was better about the F2007 in France, race winner Kimi Raikkonen simply said: “Everything! You can feel the improvement everywhere, really. In every corner. We are back where we expect to be.” At the same time, Lewis Hamilton...Read Full Story

Kimi answers critics with French victory

By Premal Shah on
Linked from --- Kimi Raikkonen finally rediscovered his best form to answer his critics at Magny-Cours on Sunday as he and Ferrari reawakened their title chances with a dominant 1-2 finish in the French Grand Prix. The Finn delivered a classic performance, reminiscent of the great man he replaced, to steal a win that for most of the race had seemed destined for team-mate Felipe Massa as Ferrari signalled it is well and truly now back in...Read Full Story

Paddock Postcard from Magny-Cours

By Premal Shah on
Linked from ---Several notable stars from other sports graced the paddock in Magny-Cours, among them football superstar Zinedine Zidane and Welsh rugby internationals Jonathan Davies, Hugh Williams-Jones and Anthony Buchanan, and the game’s French legend, Jean-Claude Skrela. The latter were part of a rugby scrum competition organised by the FFSA on Friday evening, in which the Toro Rosso and Red Bull teams emerged victorious over...Read Full Story

Raikkonen and Ferrari firmly back in the title hunt

By Premal Shah on
Linked from --- Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Ferrari routed McLaren in Magny-Cours in Sunday’s French Grand Prix, finishing more than half a minute ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren. The red cars opted for a two-stop strategy, Hamilton for three, but once the Englishman lagged off the dirty side of the grid at the start it was all over. Massa out-dragged him to the first corner, and so did Raikkonen. The Brazilian then led until...Read Full Story

Race preview - Ferrari start as favourites

By Premal Shah on
Linked from --- For the first time in many races, the odds favour Ferrari at the start of this afternoon’s French Grand Prix, with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen lining up either side of Lewis Hamilton’s sole McLaren. Individual fuel loads here will be crucial, as the lightest of the three stands the best theoretical chance of jumping into the lead and pulling away early on in a race in which overtaking is notoriously difficult...Read Full Story
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Magny-Cours is just one of seven circuits to have hosted the French Grand Prix since it joined the Formula One calendar back in 1950. As speculation continues in the media over the future of the event, we look back at the race’s long and glorious history…

The French event's original home was the ultra-fast Reims track, which had also staged Grands Prix in the pre-war era. The triangular-shaped circuit was fashioned from public roads and produced average speeds of well over 160 km/h, even in 1950. The inaugural championship race was won by Juan Manuel Fangio for Alfa Romeo, a feat he repeated the following year.

In 1952 Rouen-les-Essarts, another street circuit, held its first French Grand Prix, with Alberto Ascari unstoppable in his Ferrari. The Italian not only took pole position, he also led from flag to finish and claimed the fastest lap of the race.

For the following three events the race returned to Reims, with British driver Mike Hawthorn breaking Fangio's stranglehold on the circuit in 1953 after a close battle between the two, which saw them trade the lead countless times. Fangio took his revenge with victory in '54, there was no French race in 1955, and another Brit, Peter Collins, took the honours in 1956.

Between 1957 and 1964 the race moved between the two venues, Reims staging the Grand Prix five times and Rouen three. Among the names added to the winners' list were Tony Brooks, Dan Gurney and Jim Clark. Perhaps most notable though was 1961 victor Giancarlo Baghetti, who remains the only man to have won on his world championship debut.

Set in the scenic Auvergne mountains, Clermont-Ferrand hosted its first of four French Grands Prix in 1965. Jim Clark led from start to finish and when the race returned in 1969 fellow Scot Jackie Stewart did the same. Jochen Rindt was victorious the following year, while it was Stewart again for the circuit's final world championship appearance in 1972.

The spiritual home of French motorsport has always been Le Mans, venue for the famous 24-hour sportscar race. However, the Formula One world championship has visited the famous circuit just once, in 1967. The Le Mans-Bugatti track, as it was known, used only the start line and the pits of the traditional layout, with the rest of the lap comprising a purpose-built infield section. Jack Brabham took an easy win, but the circuit proved unpopular with drivers and spectators alike and never staged another Grand Prix.

Paul Ricard joined the Formula One racing calendar in 1971. Unlike its predecessors, it was a purpose-built circuit, boasting good facilities, though not a particularly inspiring track design. Jackie Stewart was its first winner, while Ronnie Peterson, Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Mario Andretti and Alan Jones all took victories in the decade that followed.

During that time, the race switched between Paul Ricard and the Dijon-Prenois circuit, which debuted in 1974. Peterson took the inaugural win, but the sub-one minute lap time meant traffic was a problem. The track was duly extended for 1977, with Andretti victorious after John Watson's leading Brabham started to splutter on the final lap.

The 1979 race at Dijon was an all-French affair. Jean-Pierre Jabouille became the first Frenchman to win a world championship round on home soil and it was the maiden victory for national team Renault (and incidentally for a turbocharged car). However, the race will forever be remembered for the epic battle for second between Rene Arnoux in the other Renault and the Ferrari of Gilles Villeneuve. The latter finished ahead, but only after two of the most frantic closing laps in Formula One racing history.

When the race returned to Dijon in 1981, it was again a Frenchman who took the chequered flag as Alain Prost scored his maiden Formula One victory, again with home team Renault. It was to be one of six French Grand Prix wins for Prost, including three on the trot at Paul Ricard between 1988 and 1990.

Dijon hosted the Swiss Grand Prix in 1982 with Keke Rosberg taking his maiden Formula One win. The venue then staged its final French Grand Prix in 1984, when Niki Lauda got the better of Patrick Tambay's Renault to clinch victory.

For the following six seasons, Paul Ricard held the monopoly on the French Grand Prix. Nelson Piquet won for Brabham in 1985, before major changes were made to the track for the 1986 race following the death of Elio de Angelis in testing. Nigel Mansell was victorious for Williams that year and he did it again in 1987. Prost then dominated the final three Grands Prix at Dijon.

The race switched to its current home of Magny-Cours in 1991 as part of a project backed by President Francoise Mitterrand to bring much-needed income to the rural area. The rebuilt club circuit boasted an ultra-smooth surface and excellent facilities, even if drivers felt the track itself was a little unexciting.

Nigel Mansell was the first winner, the Williams driver emerging victorious after a tense battle with the Ferrari of Alain Prost. He was on top of the podium again for Williams in '92, while Prost made it three in a row for the British team in '93.

The 1994 event brought Michael Schumacher his first French Grand Prix win. It also witnessed the return of Mansell to Formula One racing after his success in the American CART series. He qualified on the front row for Williams, but ultimately retired from the race.

Schumacher then won three of the next four French Grands Prix, for Benetton in 1995 and for Ferrari in 1997 and 1998. Damon Hill was the man to interrupt his run, but only after the German had retired on the formation lap of the 1996 event with a blown engine.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen scored his first Jordan win at Magny-Cours in 1999, beating the McLaren of Mika Hakkinen and the Stewart of Rubens Barrichello into second and third respectively. Meanwhile, in 2000 David Coulthard was victorious for McLaren after successfully hunting down and passing Schumacher's Ferrari.

However, Schumacher was back on the podium in France in 2001 after a processional race that saw him take the lead from brother Ralf in the first round of pit stops. Kimi Raikkonen looked set for a maiden victory in 2002 until he ran wide on oil at the Adelaide hairpin with just four laps to go. The Finn’s misfortune handed victory, and with it a record-equalling fifth world title, to Schumacher on a plate.

It was a Schumacher victory again in 2003, but this time it was younger brother Ralf’s turn to stand atop the podium, for the second time in two races. He led home a dominant Williams one-two, though team mate Juan Pablo Montoya was less than happy with a late change in pit stop strategy which the Colombian felt robbed him of a chance of challenging for victory. He came home 14 seconds behind Ralf after easing off in the closing stages, with Michael Schumacher third, a further 5 seconds down the road.

In 2004, the older Schumacher sibling was back on the top step of the podium, after finishing less than nine seconds ahead of the Renault of pole-sitter Fernando Alonso. Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari finished in third. In 2005 Alonso was the leading light, taking his fifth victory of the season.

Last year, however, Schumacher regained his winning form in France, comfortably defeating Alonso on Renault’s home soil. Though the Spaniard took second, mostly down to a clever two-stop strategy, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa came home third to increase the Italian team’s chances in the title fight.

This season the championship battle is proving equally fierce, and the fight for victory on Sunday looks set to be a suitably dramatic send-off, should this weekend really turn out to be the last French Grand Prix held at Magny-Cours.
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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 Bull’s 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 racing’s 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 grid’s 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.
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In 1960 Jean Bernigaud built a racing circuit on farm land near to Magny Cours in the Upper Loire, France. The original track was just over a mile in length and by 1969 the track record stood at just 49 seconds. Bernigaud expanded the circuit to create two interconnecting tracks with a total length of 3.84 kilometres (2.39 miles). The new track was officially opened in 1971.

Magny Cours was the home of a whole generation of French motor racing stars in the 1970s. A race school was established in 1963 and famous graduates included Francois Cevert, Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Jarier and Jacques Laffite.

The track hosted rounds of the European F3 championship but it was not until former President Francois Mitterand decided to invest in the flagging economy of the area, that Magny Cours was seriously considered for Formula One. A new motorway was built to link the track to the existing autoroutes and a huge industrial park was built to attract France's best racing teams.

The track layout remained the same but the corners were all changed, the track retaining its dual layout but now comprising a length of 4.26 kilometres (2.65 miles). In 1991 the French grand Prix came to Magny Cours and it has remained there ever since.
Situated in central Nievre region, the circuit is half way between Paris and Lyon. The two main airports are Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly, both in Paris, or alternatively the Satolas Airport in Lyon.

From Paris, using the A10 motorway, take the Bourge exit for the N76 to Pierre Le Moultier. Driving from Lyon and its Satolas airport, take the A6 to Paris, leaving at Macon Sud for the N79 and subsequently the D979.
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