Circuit Paul Ricard has not exactly endeared itself to F1 fans after the first two races at the modern incarnation of the circuit. Perhaps the general view on the track wouldn’t be so negative if one of these races had featured some rain.
Holding onto the car as you navigate the many long bends can be a whole lot of fun. However, if you don’t have the right setup, the task becomes a lot more difficult and a lot less enjoyable.
The first step you need to take when designing a setup for a wet French Grand Prix is to nail your wing settings.
To do this, run 4-8 for your front and rear wings respectively. This setup will give you plenty of stability in the traction zones due to the high rear wing angle.
Furthermore, you’ll have plenty of downforce to keep the car on the road through the high-speed corners.
A stable car is a happy car in the wet. To ensure your car is as stable as it can be during acceleration, a 50% on-throttle differential setting is a must.
For the off-throttle setting, you can get away with running it quite low here. I’ve elected to use 65%, which gives me plenty of rotation mid-corner without the car becoming undrivable.
Paul Ricard has a few fast corners, and as such it’s best not to simply run your camber as close to 0 as you can.
To strike the right balance between a fast car and a stable car, -2.70 and -1.20 is what you should run.
When it comes to toe, the minimum settings of 0.05 and 0.20 are best. This will help you a lot in lower speed corners at little cost elsewhere.
A softer suspension setup is often the way to go in the rain.
In fact, I would recommend going to the extreme and running 1-1 for your front and rear suspension settings. Not only will this provide you with a good amount of stability, you’ll be able to ride the kerbs better as well.
For the anti-roll bars, I tend to prefer stiffer settings for wet conditions. This is because your car will tend to understeer mid-corner in the rain unless you do something about it.
Specifically, I would suggest 8-9 for your roll bars.
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As for ride height, you won’t have to go so high here as you would at other wet circuits. 6-9 gets you far enough off the ground that your car will glide along the wet racetrack.
For your brakes, I will always recommend 100% brake pressure and 50% brake bias. I find that this gives you great stopping power without any major risk of lockups due to the rearward bias.
If you do find that you’re having trouble with locking your brakes, try lowering your brake pressure to match your braking style.
Wet conditions always call for low tyre pressures.
For Paul Ricard, 21.4psi on the fronts along with 19.5psi on the rears works really nicely. In particular, the low rear pressures help a lot with smooth power application onto the surface of the track.
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With these settings, you should find your opinion of Paul Ricard transformed. Unless, of course, you already quite liked the track. In that case, perhaps you’ll like it even more!