The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team is heading to Le Castellet this weekend for the comeback of the famous French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard and will be looking to build on its strong recent run of points scoring finishes.
Located near the city of Marseilles in the South of France, this historical track’s return to the pinnacle of motorsport is most welcomed and the team’s drivers, Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc, are both looking forward to competing in their first Formula 1 Grand Prix at this circuit.
Mastering Paul Ricard will pose a challenge to all of the drivers, with highlights such as the famous Mistral straight and the celebrated Signes corner making it an unforgettable experience.
The racing weekend at Paul Ricard gets underway, following the usual format, tomorrow (Friday) with the first two free practice sessions with the third free practice session and qualifying on Saturday and the grand prix coming up on Sunday.
“It will be interesting weekend in France," said Marcus Ericsson. "I drove on the Circuit Paul Ricard in GP2 many years ago but returning there with Formula 1 will be a new challenge, not only to me, but to all of the drivers.
"The circuit has some interesting parts," continued the Swedish driver. "Especially the second part of the lap with its long corners should be fun to tackle. I have been working hard with myself and the team since the last race and am determined to have a good weekend at Le Castellet. I look forward to arriving there.”
Meanwhile Ericssoon's rookie team mate
Charles Leclerc said: "I look forward to the French Grand Prix. I have driven on the Circuit Paul Ricard only once in the past. It was quite a long time ago, so it will be exciting to go back there and experience driving there in a Formula 1 car. It is a very technical track and offers some good challenges to us as drivers.
Leclerc, who is from Monaco, doesn't have far to travel and he added: "Le Castellet is close to home for me, which is nice. I look forward to meeting all of the French fans there, and to making further progress as a team.”
Circuit Paul Ricard first opened in 1970, hosting the first Formula 1 race in the following year. Its trademark is the long back straight, the Mistral straight, which was originally 1,8 km long, and shortened to 1 km after a chicane was built in the middle of it. This is a power-hungry circuit, with tremendous stress on power-units due to the high use of open-throttle.
The second trademark are the black, blue, and red escape zones in tarmac in place of gravel. These zones also provide different grip to tyres, the red one being more abrasive than the blue, providing more stopping power as cars advance deeper into the run-off areas.
Meanwhile, Sauber announced last week that it has expanded their collaboration with 3D Systems by adding five ProX 800 SLA 3D Printers to the company’s headquarters’ engineering facilities in Hinwil. 3D Systems also joins the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team as a new promotional partner.
The two companies have been working closely together for more than ten years and share the goal of meeting the highest standards of innovation in the production of race car parts by the application of 3D printing technologies.
“We are proud to partner with the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team in the expansion of their exciting additive manufacturing program,” Nicole Clement, Vice President Global Marketing and Demand Generation 3D Systems. “The power of our SLA and SLS 3D printers and materials is enabling them to increase the performance of their Formula 1 cars. Whether prototyping durable wind tunnel testing parts, producing tooling and vacuum moulds for carbon parts, or even enabling low volume serial production as part of their Engineering Services, the combination of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and 3D Systems is an unbeatable team in the automotive industry.”
“We are thrilled about the expansion of our collaboration with 3D Systems, a company which we have been working with for more than ten years to meet the highest standards of innovation to our 3D printing and production,” added Frédéric Vasseur, CEO Sauber Motorsport AG and Team Principal Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. “By adding five new ProX 800 SLA 3D Printers to our production facilities, we aim to further push the limits of our race car innovations. We look forward to continuing our excellent collaboration with 3D Systems in the future.”
Photos: Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team - 2018 FIA F1 World Championship