The Circuit Paul Ricard will host the 8th race of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship from 22 to 24 June.
It was inaugurated in 1970 and is located in Le Castellet, which is a small municipality located in the Southeast of France, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.
It is named after Paul Ricard, creator of the namesake pastis, who wanted to enhance this area he loved with a sporting event at an international level.
In 1971, the track hosted the first Formula 1 Grand Prix and continued from thereafter at first alternately with Dijon's track up to 1990.
But the circuit's layout is very similar to the one used from 1971 up to 1985, also in regard to its length, compared with the last 5 editions' reduced version (which is 3,813 metres long).
The main difference with the original track is the chicane that has been added to the “ligne droite du Mistral” in order to cut the 1,800 metres extra-long straightway into two sections.
It has been used for the last few years for testing new tyres and has been completely repaved last winter.
5,842 metres long, after Spa-Francorchamps and Baku it is the championship's third longest track.
It is technically very demanding, with a medium aerodynamic load and very fast turns such as the Signes turn (the 10th) that is fully taken during the race and others that are very slow such as the 15th turn, where the single-seaters fall below 90 km/h.
According to the ranking the Brembo technicians have drawn up for the 21 world championships tracks, the "Circuit Paul Ricard" belongs to the group of circuits that are fairly demanding for the brakes.
Brake use during the GP
On average, during a complete lap, the Formula 1 pilots will be using the brakes for just under 15 seconds; this value is similar to the one of the Russian GP.
In both cases, the braking systems are operated for 16 percent of the whole race because the average speeds are similar, as the length of the two tracks is also the same.
The average of the maximum decelerations during a lap is 3.7 g because from the 9th turn up to the finish line there is only one 4 g turn while the others are just over 3 g.
Both the energy dissipated (120 kWh) as well as the load on the brake pedal (51 tonnes) are in line with the 2018 world championships average value.
The most challenging braking zones
The 15 turns of the "Circuit Paul Ricard" correspond to 10 braking zones: 4 turns are classed as demanding on the brakes, for 2 turns the difficulty is medium and the remaining 4 are light.
The most demanding hard braking is at the 8th turn, the chicane that cuts the Mistral straightway in two: the single-seaters get there at 332 km/h and brake for 1.75 second covering 102 metres in order to tackle it at 159 km/h.
The pilots have to apply a 125 kg force and undergo a 4.7 g deceleration.
Also the first turn after the finish line is very demanding: from 317 km/h down to 184 km/h in 1.6 seconds, thanks to a 112 kg load on the brake pedal while the deceleration reaches 4.4 g. Slightly lower values are reached at the "Virage de l’Hôtel" (3rd turn): from 307 km/h down to 192 km/h in 1.34 seconds with a 4.1 g deceleration.
The use of the brakes goes almost unnoticed at the "Double Droite du Beausset" (11th turn) because the speed drops by just over fifty km/h (from 309 km/h down to 252 km/h) thanks to a light touch on the brakes for 69 hundredths of a second.