Verstappen braces for the 'unknown' at Paul Ricard

Max Verstappen (NL), Red Bull Racing.
© XPB 

France will hold its first Grand Prix race in ten years next weekend - and it's the first time since 1990 that Formula 1 has raced at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

That was before Max Verstappen was even born. And the Red Bull driver also hasn't had the opportunity to race there in junior categories.

"I have never actually raced at Paul Ricard so it will be a new track for me," he confirmed this week.

"I think lots of drivers actually haven’t driven there, only the younger drivers in lower formulas, not myself," he added. "But the other ones have all driven there."

The original track was built in 1969 at Le Castellet, near Marseille in the historic region of Provence in the south of France.

Extensively modernised ahead of its return to the F1 calendar, the modern circuit consists of 15 corners and is 5.842km (3.630 miles) in length.

"It’s always a challenge going to a new circuit and I’m looking forward to it," said Verstappen.

"I did the wet weather test there but we only used a few of the same corners and after that they changed the layout a little bit.

"From what I have seen it is a power track with long straights," he added. "But there are still a few corners in there where we can make a difference.

"It’s all a bit unknown, so we will have to see when we get there," he said. "I’m looking forward to seeing a new Grand Prix weekend."

Verstappen will be hoping to prove that his renaissance in Canada was no one-off.

After a bumpy start to the 2018 season with a number of accidents and reliability issues, the Dutch driver is hoping that his smooth run to third place in Montreal marks a new beginning.

He's also hoping that his massive army of orange-wearing fans will be making the trip to support him, as they do every year in Belgium.

"It’s quite close to home," he commented. "I think it’s also good to have a race in France as there are many fans there."

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