French Grand Prix to return after lost decade
Following years of fruitless rumours and dead ends, the historic event will make a comeback on the F1 calendar in summer 2018
The French Grand Prix will make a return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2018 at the Le Castellet track, also known as Circuit Paul Ricard, after an absence of ten years. The country, which hosted the rst ever grand prix in 1906, last held the race at Magny-Cours in central France in 2008.
Le Castellet hosted the French Grand Prix 14 times between 1971 and 1990, during which time it often alternated with Dijon-Prenois. The track, in the south of France, close to Marseille and Toulon, was famous for its long Mistral straight and the ultra-fast Signes corner that followed it. But the straight will be bisected by a chicane for the revival of the race, and the notorious Verriere sweeps after the start-nish straight have also been slowed down.
The resurrection of the race is the brainchild of Christian Estrosi, a former racing driver and now the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, in which the track is situated.
Organisers said at a news conference at which the GP’s return was announced that the race will be funded by a consortium of different regional bodies, who will provide US$15m a year, and ticket sales and partnerships that will bring in another US$17m. The regional government has calculated that the race will have an economic impact on the region of US$69m a year.
The length of the contract has not yet been announced, but the deal is believed to be for ve years and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said he expected the race to be held at the end of July. It remains to be seen how it will t in alongside Germany, where Hockenheim is in the last year of its contract in 2018, and Hungary.
Jackie Stewart leads the field away at Paul Ricard for the start of the 1971 French Grand Prix.
The 2008 race took place at Magny-Cours and was the last time France hosted a GP