The French Grand Prix could be set to return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2018 after a ten year absence.
According to reports coming out of France, the Paul Ricard circuit (which is owned by Bernie Ecclestone) will host the French Grand Prix in 2018 with a deal believed to last for five years.
Nothing is official yet, but it’s believed the news will be announced next week at a press conference which is being held to discuss the future of the French Grand Prix.
Formula 1 hasn’t visited France since 2008, when the race was held at the Magny-Cours circuit. F1 first visited there in 1991 and while the track was interesting and produced some good races it was in a very remote location – not ideal for fans or teams.
The Paul Ricard circuit has a rich history in Formula 1 – it’s hosted the French Grand Prix 14 times so far, first in 1971 and most recently in 1990. It was also one of the most popular testing venues for teams, with it’s location in the south of France offering good year-round weather.
The track was revamped into a modern facility in the early 2000s and continues to host races for a number of championships, such as Formula V8 3.5 and the European Le Mans Series. Although the enormously long Mistral Straight has been broken up with a chicane, the high-speed right-hander at Signes remains.
We hope these reports turn out to be true, because with Germany off the calendar and Brazil looking shaky, a return to a classic venue with a proper F1 history will be a well-received shot in the arm for the sport.