French GP to return to F1 in 2018

© F1 Pulse, 6 December 2016
LAT Photographic/Williams

The French Grand Prix will return to Formula One in 2018 after a decade-long absence with the race to be hosted at the Circuit Paul Ricard, it was announced on Monday.

Last held at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the Grand Prix will be held for a period of at least five years as per the latest agreement.

"Losing the Grand Prix was a true scar for our country," said regional head Christian Estrosi, who also raced motorcycles in the 70s and 80s finishing fourth in the 1978 French GP at Nogaro on a 500cc.

Circuit Paul Ricard, also known as Le Castellet, now "has been modernized and has all the required qualities to organize this event," according to FIA president Jean Todt with the renovation costing €80 million over the years. It last hosted the French GP in 1990 before the race was shifted to Magny-Cours although the track has been used several times for F1 testing in between.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone's family trust currently owns the Circuit Paul Ricard.

With Renault racing in F1 as a full-fledged manufacturer and its power units supplied to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, the latter from next year onwards, added with the presence of French drivers on the grid in Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon, it is hoped that the race could provide for a sustainable option, particularly to the financially troubled German GP.


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