While Mercedes and Red Bull have won the last three French Grands Prix, McLaren and Ferrari have never missed a race at the track. Here’s everything you need to know about each team’s history at Circuit Paul Ricard!
WINS: 2, POLES: 2, PODIUMS: 4 | 2021 RESULT: HAMILTON 2nd, BOTTAS 4th
2021 was the first time that Mercedes failed to win the French Grand Prix since its return to the calendar. 2018 was the first time that Mercedes took part in the French Grand Prix since 1954, and the first time they had competed at Circuit Paul Ricard. Lewis Hamilton won in both 2018 and 2019. Valtteri Bottas could only manage seventh in 2018 as a result of being spun on the first lap by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, but finished second in 2019, marking the team’s first 1-2 at the track. Last year, Hamilton finished as runner-up to Max Verstappen, while Bottas finished fourth.
Mercedes failed to lock out the front row at Circuit Paul Ricard for the first time last year. Max Verstappen took pole position, leaving Hamilton and Bottas to line up second and third on the grid. Hamilton took pole in both 2018 and 2019.
WINS: 1, POLES: 1, PODIUMS: 3 | 2021 RESULT: VERSTAPPEN 1st, PEREZ 3rd
Red Bull won the French Grand Prix for the first time last year. Max Verstappen took victory with Sergio Perez joining him on the podium in third place. Verstappen supplied the team with their only other podium result here in 2018, finishing as runner-up. There’s yet to be a Red Bull driver who has failed to score at Circuit Paul Ricard. The team’s worst result here is tenth, recorded by Pierre Gasly in 2019.
With the exception of Pierre Gasly, who qualified ninth in 2019, every Red Bull entry has recorded a top five qualifying result at Circuit Paul Ricard. Max Verstappen recorded the team’s first pole – and their first front row start – last year, while a Red Bull driver has qualified fourth in all of the last three French Grands Prix.
WINS: 2, POLES: 2, PODIUMS: 7 | 2021 RESULT: SAINZ 11th, LECLERC 16th
Ferrari are one of only two teams to have been present at every F1 race so far at the Circuit Paul Ricard. For the first time since 1987, the team failed to score at the track last year, with both cars finishing outside of the top ten. It ended a streak of five races at the circuit in which Ferrari have finished on the podium – which included their most recent win here with Alain Prost in 1990. Niki Lauda’s victory in 1975 is the only other time the Scuderia have won here. Before 2018, 1982 and 1988 were the only seasons in which both Ferraris finished in the points at this track – but they did so in both 2018 and 2019. There have been three occasions – 1971, 1976 and 1987 – in which the Scuderia have recorded a double DNF here.
Ferrari have taken two poles at Le Castellet. Niki Lauda set the fastest qualifying time in 1975, as did Nigel Mansell in 1990. Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda’s second qualifying places in 1971 and 1976 respectively are the only other times a Ferrari has qualified on the front row. Both of Ferrari’s cars have qualified in the top ten in all of F1’s last eight visits to the track. Since its return, both Ferrari drivers have reached Q3 at the track. Last year was the first time since 1987 that neither driver qualified in the top three.
WINS: 3, POLES: 3, PODIUMS: 10 | 2021 RESULT: NORRIS 5th, RICCIARDO 6th
McLaren are the only team other than Ferrari to have been present at every F1 race at Paul Ricard. They’ve won the French Grand Prix at this track three times, including with a 1-2 finish in 1988. 2018 ended a streak of six visits where the team had finished on the podium here, while the team returned to points-scoring ways in 2019, with Carlos Sainz finishing sixth and Lando Norris ninth. Last year, Norris finished fifth with Daniel Ricciardo following him in sixth. McLaren have recorded one double DNF at the track, in 1983. 2018 marked the first time the team have failed to score here since then, with Stoffel Vandoorne finishing 12th and Fernando Alonso retiring from the race.
McLaren have taken pole three times at this circuit, including two front-row lock-outs in 1988 and 1989. 2018 marked their worst qualifying attempt at the circuit, with Alonso qualifying 16th and Vandoorne 18th. Both cars were eliminated in the first part of qualifying, with it being only the third race at the track where neither McLaren had qualified in the top ten. Things were much better in 2019, with both McLarens qualifying in the top six. Both cars reached Q3 once again last year.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2021 RESULT: ALONSO 8th, OCON 14th
2018 marked Renault’s first appearance at Paul Ricard since 1985, having missed the previous five races at the track. The French manufacturer picked up points in both 2018 and 2019. Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg scored in 2018, finishing eighth and ninth respectively, while Hulkenberg scored again in 2019, finishing in ninth. Daniel Ricciardo had finished seventh but picked up post-race penalties which dropped him out of the points.
The original Renault team previously performed well at their home track, with a 1-2 finish courtesy of French drivers Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost in 1982, and another win for Prost in the following season, in which team-mate Eddie Cheever also joined him on the podium.
In terms of the Enstone team’s history, the team appeared here as Toleman and Benetton in the 1980s. There were no races at the track in which both of the team’s cars reached the chequered flag. Nelson Piquet recorded the Benetton team’s best result at the track with fourth place. Under their Benetton guise, the team qualified with both cars in the top ten on four occasions – most recently in 1990. Alessandro Nannini recorded the team’s best qualifying result here with fourth place in 1989.
Last year, on the team’s first appearance as Alpine, Fernando Alonso scored points with an eighth place finish while Esteban Ocon finished outside of the points. In all of the last three seasons, the team has seen one car reach Q3 with the other other out in Q2. Their best qualifying result since the French Grand Prix’s return to the calendar is seventh for Carlo Sainz in 2018.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2021 RESULT: GASLY 7th, TSUNODA 13th
Pierre Gasly finished in seventh place at the 2021 French Grand Prix, recording the former Toro Rosso team’s first points at Circuit Paul Ricard. The team has recorded a single retirement at the circuit, also courtesy of Gasly, in 2018.
Gasly also become the team’s first driver to reach Q3 here last year, qualifying in sixth place. One of the team’s cars has been eliminated in Q1 at every French Grand Prix since 2018. Yuki Tsunoda recorded the team’s worst qualifying result here in 2021. He qualified twentieth after crashing out in Q1.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2021 RESULT: VETTEL 9th, STROLL 10th
Both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll finished in the top ten for Aston Martin at the 2021 French Grand Prix. It was the first time that the Silverstone-based team has scored at Circuit Paul Ricard. The former Racing Point team recorded a double DNF in 2018, as Esteban Ocon was eliminated after a first lap collision and Sergio Perez retired with engine troubles. Both drivers reached the end of the race in 2019, but neither scored, with Perez finishing twelfth and Stroll thirteenth.
The team are yet to reach Q3 at Circuit Paul Ricard, with their best qualifying result being Ocon’s eleventh place in 2018. Lance Stroll’s Q1 exit in 2019 was the team’s first Q1 elimination at the circuit. Stroll failed to set a lap time in qualifying here last year following two red flag periods in Q1.
WINS: 3, POLES: 2, PODIUMS: 7 | 2021 RESULT: RUSSELL 12th, LATIFI 18th
Williams have won here three times in the past at Circuit Paul Ricard, including a 1-2 finish in 1987, but have failed to score a point since the track returned to the calendar in 2018. The last three races are only the second, third and fourth times neither Williams car has scored on all of their appearances here, the other being in 1988 when the team recorded a double DNF. The team have suffered a retirement with at least one car in four of the last six races here; the 2019 race being the first time both cars reached the end of the race since their 1-2 results in 1987.
Williams have previously taken pole at the Paul Ricard track twice, with Keke Rosberg in 1985 and with Nigel Mansell two years later. 2018 marked the first time in seven races at the track where neither Williams driver qualified in the top ten. Their cars qualified on the back row in both 2018 and 2019. In 2021, George Russell reached Q2, while Nicholas Latifi was out in Q1.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2021 RESULT: GIOVINAZZI 15th, RAIKKONEN 17th
The former Sauber team have scored on two of their last three visits to Circuit Paul Ricard. Charles Leclerc finished tenth for Sauber in 2018, while Kimi Raikkonen brought his Alfa Romeo home in seventh place in 2019. It was the first time that the Alfa Romeo name has scored here. In their appearances as a works team in the 1980s, the Italian marque never scored a point at this circuit. Neither driver scored last year.
While one of the team’s cars progressed to Q3 in both 2018 and 2019, neither driver qualified in the top ten last year. Kimi Raikkonen recorded the team’s first Q1 exit at Circuit Paul Ricard, qualifying seventeenth. Charles Leclerc has recorded the team’s best qualifying showing here so far with eighth in 2018.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0 | 2021 RESULT: SCHUMACHER 19th, MAZEPIN 20th
In their three visits to Circuit Paul Ricard, Haas have scored once, with Kevin Magnussen finishing sixth in 2018. Frenchman Romain Grosjean failed to score at his home event on either of his appearances with Haas, finishing eleventh in 2018 and recording the team’s first retirement at the track in 2019. Last year, Mick Schumacher finished nineteenth with Nikita Mazepin one position behind.
Both Haas drivers reached Q3 in 2018,with Magnussen scoring their best qualifying result of ninth. 2019 was less successful, with Magnussen out in Q2 and Grosean recording Haas’ first Q1 exit at the Paul Ricard track. Mazepin was out in Q1 last year, qualifying slowest of the nineteen drivers who set a lap time. Meanwhile, Schumacher recorded the first Q2 appearance of his career. However, he was unable to take part in the session after crashing out in Q1.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.