Formula One May Head Back To France For The First Time In A Decade

The most recent French Grand Prix, at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours on June 22. Photo credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
The most recent French Grand Prix, at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours on June 22. Photo credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

For what will be the first time in 10 years by the time the race rolls around, various reports say Formula One will return to France in 2018. French media first reported a five-year deal for a revived French Grand Prix, and according to reports, an announcement of the return to France will come on Monday.

BBC Sport reports that the race will return to a track that last hosted F1 in 1990, Circuit Paul Ricard near the French city of Marseille. The circuit was a test track closed to spectators for 10 years, reopening to the public in 2009. According to BBC Sport, F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said he believes the race will materialize and will have a spot on the schedule late in July.

This follows the German Grand Prix being dropped from the F1 schedule for the 2017 season, a race held in late July in 2016. But according to BBC Sport, the Germany drop is only for the 2017 race at the Nürburgring—one of two venues that currently alternates hosting it. BBC Sport reports that Hockenheimring, the other venue, has a contract to host the race again come 2018.

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But don’t start booking your French hotels until the potential announcement occurs, because this isn’t the first time a deal for the French Grand Prix has been likely. From Autosport:

The French GP nearly returned to F1 for 2013, with Ecclestone declaring a deal was “done” in April 2012, and the race was also in the running later that year when a GP in New Jersey failed to materialise.

During the previous talks about F1 returning to Paul Ricard, circuit bosses declared that the plan would be to use its full layout, rather than the truncated version used from 1986-90 in the wake of the death of Elio de Angelis in a testing accident.

The subject of whether the layout would include the use of a chicane on the famous 1.1-mile Mistral Straight was also debated, with track director Stephane Clair saying at the time it would be up to the race promoters.

With all of the F1 schedule swaps and switches lately, it’s hard to remember when the races are—or if they’re even happening. But hey, a bit of uncertainty is always fun. Let’s see what happens, or doesn’t happen, tomorrow.

Staff writer, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

repsolhonda
Repsol Honda

Amusing thing about this is that it sounds like the local governments will be coming up with the money should this go off...and the money will be used to pay Bernie, who owns the track. Had Bernie ever given one iota of a shit about F1, he would have run that race himself. Of course, he isn’t about to pay himself for the privilege.

I’m sort of ambivalent about a possible return to Paul Ricard. I did like the circuit long ago before they used the tungsten runoff. If they are going to go back there, the only way it will be worth it is if they use the full Mistral Straight. The only modification that might have to be done there is to increase the runoff at the end of the straight at Signes if it was deemed not to be enough. I miss the engine killer straights, and Paul Ricard met that in every way possible. Hopefully they stick to running this race in July...the weather was usually absolutely gorgeous in Le Castellet back when they ran here in the 80s....blue skies, bright sunshine...no better way to host grand prix racing....unless they want to try and restore either Reims, Rouen Les Essarts, or Clermont Ferrand...