Running In France Again

The Young Guns Test is a test which allows all 12 teams to run younger and inexperienced drivers. Participating drivers are required to have little to no experience of competitive racing in F1 and it has been useful for some who have gone on to race in the sport, as Jean Eric-Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo have taken part and gone on to race in the top division of motor racing.

Recent years have seen the test take place at the Yas Marina circuit, home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In the interests of cost-saving, this year’s has seen a more splintered approach, with Williams, Marussia and HRT electing to do their running at Silverstone last month. It is unclear what all the remaining teams plans are but Red Bull, Toro Rosso and McLaren currently intend to partake at Abu Dhabi in November, in the week following the race.

Abu Dhabi has usually hosted the test

It is Mercedes and Ferrari who are believed to be taking up the third and final alternative – returning to the home of the French Grand Prix. Magny-Cours, located in the heart of France, hosted the French GP between the years of 1991 and 2008. The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was renowned for it’s fast, sweeping turn 1 right-hander which led down into the Adelaide hairpin. A feature of the track was that its corners were modeled and named after other Formula One venues, such as the Adelaide hairpin and Estoril corner.

Drivers and teams alike never quite did fall in love with the area as it’s location being some 250km outside of Paris meant it was far from anywhere and the track itself had very few overtaking opportunities, which lead to dull, processional races. CEO and President of Formula One Management (FOM) Bernie Ecclestone announced that 2007 would be the final year for the French GP at Magny-Cours as Paris emerged as a desired choice but was never realised. The 2007 race went ahead and the circuit hosted the Grand Prix for the final time in 2008. Despite appearing on the FIA’s provisional race calender for 2009, it was withdrawn from the schedule for financial reasons.

Felipe Massa won the final French Grand Prix in 2008

For a sport which originated in France, holding the first Grand Prix in 1906, the country is currently short on pedigree in the current field. Romain Grosjean and Jean Eric-Vergne are the only two Frenchman currently racing and a return for a French Grand Prix appears some way off due to the recent changes at the head of French politics.

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