With Ferrari coming into Formula 1’s French Grand Prix weekend on the back of two strong performances the onus will be on Red Bull to recover at a race wherein drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finished first and third respectively in 2021.
While Red Bull’s pace during qualifying and the sprint race handed them the advantage in Austria, their tire degradation during the Grand Prix provides cause for concern.
With the air temperatures in France set to soar beyond 30 degrees celsius, the conditions going into the weekend should favor Ferrari, whose F1-75 is kinder on its tires in hot conditions.
Pirelli bring harder compounds
Pirelli will bring a harder range of compounds to the event. The Italian tire manufacturer has opted to bring their C2,C3, and C4 compounds as opposed to Austria where they brought the C3, C4, and C5 compounds.
While this could offset some of Red Bull’s concerns, Verstappen is taking nothing for granted with the Dutchman emphasizing the importance of tire management.
“We had a good result last year in France as a team,” Verstappen said ahead of the weekend.
“The track has a lot of technical and high-speed corners towards the end of the lap, so it will be important to look after the tires, especially as it will be a very hot weekend.
“I’m looking forward to another race week where we can improve on our performance in Austria and learn from our last result.”
Advantage with Ferrari
On paper, the advantage should lie with Ferrari. The Italian team currently trail Red Bull by 56 points.
One area of concern could be the team’s reliability. Ferrari have had a series of engine failures during the season’s hotter races and with Carlos Sainz all but guaranteed to receive a penalty following his engine blowup in Austria, it could complicate the team’s chances of securing a strong result.
Perez needs to rediscover form
Following a win in Monaco, Perez’s luck seems to have abandoned him. The Mexican suffered retirements in Canada and Austria and has now fallen back to third in the drivers’ standings.
“I’m still in the fight for the drivers’ standings, so personally it’s also important not to lose any more points,” Perez commented.
“Last year I achieved my second podium with the team in France and I’m looking forward to repeating that.”