The technical challenges of Magny Cours

Round eight of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship takes the Honda Racing F1 Team to Magny Cours, a picturesque village situated in the Burgundy region of the Loire Valley, for the French Grand Prix. The 70-lap race takes place at the 4.411km (2.741-mile) Circuit de Nevers.

After the glamour of Monaco and the cosmopolitan city of Montreal, Magny Cours provides the F1 circus with a quieter, more rural backdrop. The French Grand Prix is the oldest Grand Prix in the world. The first race was staged in June 1906 and since the inception of the World Championship in 1950, the race has been staged at seven different tracks throughout France. It has been run at the Circuit de Nevers since 1991.

Michael Schumacher has the best record of any driver at the track, having won eight races between 1994 and 2006. Rubens Barrichello, meanwhile, has scored three podiums, while Jenson Button's best result is fourth in 2005. CIRCUIT DE NEVERS – THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE

The track surface at the Circuit de Nevers is very smooth, but the idiosyncrasies of the asphalt provide the teams with some of the biggest technical challenges of the race weekend. A small change in the track temperature can have a big influence on grip levels, so the engineers have to monitor any changes closely and alter car set-up accordingly.

Traction, particularly this year without traction control, has a big influence on lap time because the cars accelerate out of five first and second-gear corners around the lap. The two high-speed chicanes are much spoken about and keep the attention of the drivers, but neither is a big technical challenge because the relatively high downforce levels used on the cars ensure good turn-in and stability through these sections.

The key corner on the lap is turn three. A good balance through this long right-hander is crucial because a straight follows, at the end of which is the Adelaide Hairpin, which is the main overtaking point on the lap. Drivers need to be able to get the power down early, while the car is still under high lateral loads.

Full throttle:
60% Brake wear:
Low Downforce level: High – 8/10 Tire compounds:
Medium / Soft Tire usage:
Low Average speed: 210kph (130mph). Honda F1 PR

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