France has vowed to rebound from a disappointing World Cup of Motorsport outing at Kyalami in South Africa at the weekend that yielded not so much as a single point from an out-of-luck Nicolas Prost – and cost les bleus
a spot in the nations' title chase.
Having struggled in qualifying – lining up seventh and eleventh for the sprint and feature races respectively – a tardy getaway, subsequent braking problems and a pit-stop delay relegated Prost to just tenth position at the chequered flag in the former, two places outside of the points and understandably frustrated, having proved capable of lapping as quickly as the leaders following a change to his car's balance during the pit visit.
Worse was to come, however, in the longer feature event, as the son of quadruple Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost came together with Salvador Duran in the Mexican entry early on, in the ensuing chaos caused by the erratic driving of Malaysia's Fairuz Fauzy ahead.
That meant the team was unable to exploit the aggressive strategy it had planned in a bid to make up positions, and the season one champions would leave Gauteng empty-handed and having ceded a place to the Netherlands in the title chase, now sitting a full 32 markers adrift of leaders Switzerland with only four meetings remaining on the calendar.
“It's very frustrating to have the speed to fight at the front and to finish the weekend without scoring any points,” reflected 27-year-old Prost. “Apart from the result, though, our working method and our speed here on the Kyalami circuit have given us cause for satisfaction.
“We've got the pace to be up among the front-runners, and we owe our setbacks to unfavourable circumstances rather than any direct mistakes on the part of the team. I'm confident that we'll bounce back quickly.”
“This weekend Lady Luck hasn't smiled on us,” agreed Team France sporting director and 1996 Monaco Grand Prix winner Olivier Panis. “We had everything it took to score a couple of good results, but a red flag in qualifying and an accident in the race dashed our hopes.
“It just goes to show that the slightest mistake in A1GP can have serious consequences, but we've done our best as our results in Kyalami are due to race incidents that had nothing to do with A1 Team France. We hope to have more success at the next event.”