Magny Cours: A Bit Of History

Magny Cours: A Bit Of History

Since 1991, the French Grand Prix has been held at Circuit de Nevers at Magny Cours, deep in rural France. The circuit has staged a Formula One race every year since ’91.

The circuit was built in 1960 by Jean Bernigaud and was originally intended to be a motoring school. Famous drivers to have come from this training ground are François Cévert and Jacques Laffite. The circuit was bought in 1980 by Regional Conseil de la Nièvre and has since been improved and bought to the international standard that is required.

The circuit is almost flat, with little change in elevation all the way around. The lap begins with a short sprint through the left kink down to turn one – the Estoril corner – that just keeps on going around the right, seemingly never-ending. This leads on to a long straight and flat-out bend that eventually works around to the Adelaide hairpin – a very tight right hander which leads in to the in-field area. From here on, the track turns tend to relatively tight and twisty with a couple of short sprints until the final chicane which leads back onto the main straight.

Generally speaking, the circuit doesn’t encorouge over-taking, but there have been some memorable races, notably the inaugral race which was won by Britons Nigel Mansell. Alain Prost managed a win at Magny Cours in 1993, winning on home soil much to the delight of the jubilant crowds. Damon Hill won it in 1996, and 1999 saw a strange grid with Rubens Barrichello on pole position in a Stewart, and Heinz-Harold Frentzen winning in a Jordan.

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