The French Grand Prix or as its called in France, the Grand Prix de France, is part of the Federation Internationale de I’Automobile’s annual Formula One automobile racing championships. Grand Prix motor racing as a whole originated in France, making the French Grand Prix one of the oldest Grand Prix races to ever take place. The first French International Grand Prix to come about was run on the 26th of June 1906 under the sponsorship of the Automobile Club de France in Sarthe, with as many as thirty-two racing cars taking place.
But the first organized event of this kind was part of a Reliability Trial run from Paris to Rouen and took place in 1894 over a distance of 126 km. The Le Petite Journal organised the event and wrote that the winner of the “horseless carriage” must be “safe, easily controllable and reasonably economical to run.” Twenty-one contestants took part, leaving on July 22nd, with the Count de Dion coming home first in his steam driven De Dion tractor. However the vehicle was not considered a practical car and the prize went jointly to a Panhard-Levassor and a Peugeot, with winning speeds of an exciting 17km/h. This race was quite a breakthrough considering when the first “horseless carriage” was introduced. The vehicle was seen as something to get to places quicker but by no means reliable, so the thought of speed on these machines was unthinkable at the time.
Then in 1925 the first ever World Championships were organized. This included the French Grand Prix, the Belgian Grand Prix, the Italian Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. Since 1950 when Formula One was instituted, the French Grand Prix has been part of this organisation. Formula One has been held all over France at various racetracks, including the Autodrome de Montlhery. Then in 1991 the French Grand Prix was given a permanent home at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. The reason for such a move to such a remote area was in an attempt to boost the local economy.
Financial problems cast a shadow over the 2004 and 2005 French Grand Prix events, although they continued as planned. As it turned out, 2005 was the last French Grand Prix to be held, as despite many efforts to continue including France in the F1 racing circuit, financial and logistical problems thwarted each new attempt. For the 2010 F1 season, there will be no French Grand Prix, however, French auto racing enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the Paul Ricard Circuit has been put forward as a candidate to act as host in 2011.
Following the withdrawal of financial support by the French Motorsports Federation (FFSA), Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours has not been included in the 2010 Formula One Championship calendar.
Situated in France, the world renowned F1 French Grand Prix venue of Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, often referred to simply as Magny-Cours, the circuit has been hosting the Grand Prix since 1991. Located close to the towns of Nevers and Magny-Cours, the Magny-Cours F1 track attracts large crowds during the racing season, and with the region being a popular tourist destination in France, many spectators combine the event with some sightseeing.
Formula One’s Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was originally built by Jean Bernigaud in 1960 on a section of land beside his farm. Bernigaud, along with Gerard Crombac and Jean Lucas, established a racing school at Magny-Cours race track, with famous F1 drivers such as Jacques Laffite, Patrick Depailler and Francois Cevert known to have trained there. As racing in France began to expand, Bernigaud saw the need to create an extension of two interconnected circuits totalling 2.39 miles. Sadly, Bernigaud passed away in November of 1971 before putting this into action. Magny-Cours circuit was thereafter managed by ASA Nivernais, and unfortunately by the 1980’s the track was in a bad condition.
The F1 circuit of Magny-Cours was later purchased by the Regional Conseil de la Nievre, and a project was set in place to revamp the circuit. Large amounts of money were invested in the track by interested parties, and the project included the construction of an industrial park, motor museum and 18-hole golf course.
The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is now a top-class smooth circuit with excellent spectator facilities. In 1991 the French Grand Prix began being hosted at Magny-Cours Formula One track. The circuit is quite challenging as there are few opportunities for overtaking. Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was witness to one of the greatest achievements in F1 – in 2006 Michael Schumacher was the first F1 driver to win a single Grand Prix 8 times. Races at Magny-Cours F1 track are always set to impress the crowds as are the fine facilities.
Though the Renault F1 team is based in Enstone, Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom, the vehicle manufacturer hails from Boulogne-Billancourt France. Renault has long been involved in the production of cars, vans, buses, tractors and trucks and they are a popular vehicle manufacturer on a worldwide scale. The company also has a reputation for coming up with several revolutionary designs which have influenced the development of cars in general, as well as having excellent security technology and enjoying great success in the field of motor racing. In the United States Renault is commonly mispronounced and spelled as “Renalt”. However, after extensive marketing efforts, the original French spelling of the word has made a massive comeback in that country.
Renault has long been involved in motorsport in general as most manufacturers recognise the immense value of this avenue of sport as an effective marketing tool. However, they only started to become more dedicated to motorsport in general in the late 70s and early 80s when they made the decision to establish a dedicated motorsport division. This division was called Renault Sport and it has enjoyed immense success both in Rally Racing and Formula One. It is interesting to note that their initial 1977 entry into the world of Formula One was seen by many in the racing fraternity to be a big joke. This was mainly due to the fact that Renault’s designs were somewhat unconventional and featured such curiosities as a turbocharger. However, they soon won respect by achieving notable finishes and finally, after just two years, the Renault F1 Team won their first race. Despite early ridicule every one of the front-running Formula One teams were making use of turbochargers by the early 80s.
Renaults true Formula One Success came when the manufacturer made the decision to take over the Benetton F1 team in 2001. With top F1 driver Fernando Alonso behind the wheel initially, Renault soon enjoyed massive success. In 2005 Renault won both the Constructors and Drivers titles. Recently there has been some curiosity regarding the appointment of Carlos Ghosn as Renault’s CEO since there was a general consensus that he would not be very committed to the Formula One Team. However, Ghosn laid fears to rest in 2006 after announcing that the team would continue to participate in Formula One until at least 2012. This means that fans will continue to enjoy the innovative design and engineering that have become Renault trademarks.