French Grand Prix to re­turn af­ter lost decade

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

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

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