The Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France has hosted Formula 1 since the early 70s and is known as one of the first modern autodromes. Its wide mix of high, medium and low-speed turns, as well as the wide, high grip asphalt runoff zones, has made the circuit a popular testing circuit. Whilst the extended run-offs mean the track can be very forgiving, it does not mean that it is easy to master.
Sector 3 begins on the approach to the famous, high speed, Signes right-hander. Following this comes a fast but technical section where minimum speed is critical. Finally, the tight right-hander of T15 takes you back onto the main straight.
Turn 10 (Courbe de Signes)
Following the Mistral Straight, begin to move over to the left side for Turn 10, the famous Signes right-hander.
Taken flat out in 8th gear with ease, you should still try to minimise any time loss by taking a wide smooth arc, using all the flat inside kerb. Any fighting of the wheel will cause you to scrub off unnecessary speed.
Turn 11 (Double Droite du Beausset): 1st Apex
As the French name suggests, Turn 11 can be seen as two right corners and two apexes.
The approach is fast, coming from Signes move over to straddle the left kerb before turning in just after the 50m board. Don't brake yet!
Stay on the throttle until you have reached the start of the first apex before slowly bleeding off speed and progressing down the gears to 4th. No need to brake too heavily here as you will lower your minimum speed too much
The corner tightens up so use the engine braking to bring the car naturally down in speed, going deep and drifting out wide mid-corner to create a V-Line before cutting back to the second apex.
Turn 11 (Double Droite du Beausset): 2nd Apex
After running out wide mid-corner, bring the car back to make a late second apex for a better exit.
Taking a lot of kerb is not too important here so long as you keep the minimum speed up. Use 5th gear for this one and let the car run out wide for the best exit.
Turn 12 (Virage de Bendor)
Virage de Bendor - Turn 12 requires you to get all the way back over to the right for a wide entry.
It is a textbook example of where you should trailbrake, gradually reducing the brake pressure as you get towards the apex in 3rd gear.
Aim for a late apex again, avoiding the raised part of the kerb here as this one is not as kind as the others on the track (it will reduce your grip and downforce).
Short shifting can help you put the power down as you run wide over the kerb for the best line.
Turn 13 (Courbe du Garlaban)
Courbe du Garlaban - Turn 13 is not much of a corner, but rather an approach to T14.
Focus on taking a smooth line and cut off the final part, straddling the full kerb for the widest possible entry into T14.
Turn 14 (Virage du Lac)
The penultimate corner of Virage du Lac is a long right-hander. For this one, you want to take a wide entry and late apex to set up the final corner.
Downshift to 3rd gear and stay tight to the left side on exit to give you the widest line into T15.
Turn 15 (Virage du Pont)
The final corner is the tightest and slowest on the circuit. For Virage du Pont the main focus is a good exit down the straight.
Providing you are over to the left after T14 you should be in a good position to make a late apex. Use first gear to help rotate the car to the apex but don't take the kerb as it will reduce traction.
Be easy on the throttle application and short shift to avoid wheelspin, staying off the outside sausage kerbs for the best run to the line.