Running to a slightly different schedule this year, the French GP marks the mid-point on the season. Coming off the back of the Canadian GP, Magny-Cours kicks off the mid-season run of European races. Thus, the teams return to a more conventional circuit, although the track has its idiosyncrasies.
Placed in the centre of France, the Nevers track is mix of tight hairpins and rapid changes of direction, plus a single challenging right-hand turn. To attack these bends and without a long straight to offset the aero map, the teams need a high level of downforce.
While its layout it quite normal, the track's surface is very much a one-off on the calendar. It is completely smooth and bump-free, allowing the cars to run low and stiff set-ups, although the kerbs at the chicane ending the lap require some suppleness in high-speed suspension response.
Additionally, the dark tarmac changes temperature with sunlight, and the track's location in the middle of agricultural land means that it is unshaded. As the track gets hotter its grip level lessens, making set-up and timing of qualifying runs particularly difficult.