In a press conference held at the Automobile Club of France, it has been confirmed that the Grand Prix of France will take place in 2018, after 10 years of absence, in the circuit of Paul Ricard, information that the newspaper L’equipe, unveiled last week, and that was ratified by Bernie Ecclestone.
The press conference counted with the presence of Eric Boullier and Cyril Abiteboul, two of the main figures and heads in the flow charts of McLaren and Renault. The president of the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’azur, Christian Estrosi, took the floor to confirm the return of the official test to the track located in Le Castellet.
“Today I can announce clearly, firmly and finally, the return of the Grand Prix of France in the summer of 2018 at the circuit Paul Ricard. We are proud of this great comeback after 10 years, and it is a great victory for the men who have worked in this success. Knowing that the racing is so popular in our country, and as ambassadors and carriers of innovation, creation, research and development, our country had the scar of having lost the Great Prize“.
Estrosi had words of special thanks to François Fillon, prime minister in the previous government of Nicolas Sarkozy and the president of the French Federation (FFSA) Nicolas Deschaux, but also remembered, “our pilot Nice” Jules Bianchi (“my thoughts are with his family, with his father”) and Jean Behra, a famous French pilot from the 50’s, “, which is still a great figure”. For his part, Stephane Clair, the director-general of the circuit, confirmed that all the organizational aspects of the layout are up to the challenge:
“we’ve Always been optimistic, because our circuit meets the current standards of the Formula 1. We have spoken with experts on technical matters and costs, to break with certain preconceptions against us, as the alleged difficulties with the access to the areas of the viewers. For the Bol d’or 2015, the traffic plan worked, and allowed us to accommodate 70,000 spectators. This plan will evolve more for the Grand Prize”.
Paul Ricard made his debut in the Formula 1 World championship in 1971, as the circuit more safe and modern place in the world. Your version of 5.809 km long, which included the long straight Mistral, 2 km long, hosted nine Major Awards between 1971 and 1985, in which no rider repeated victory. The death of Elio de Angelis in a private test in 1986 in the lightning-fast first corner made since then using the version club full 3,812 km, in which he competed in five more years. Alain Prost was the winner of the last three editions, before Paul Ricard lost its place in favor of the remodeled Magny-Cours in 1991.
After years of little activity, Bernie Ecclestone bought the circuit in 1999 with the intention of converting it into an advanced circuit testing. Even if the parent path is not varied at all, they were created vast run off areas paved last generation, which are still avant-garde today, thanks to their different levels of abrasion to penalize the outputs of track, and created numerous stretches alternative, making available up to 167 different configurations.
Slowly, Paul Ricard has been returning to host major motorsports events, receiving evidence of the World Touring car Championship FIA European Formula 3 and the European Le Mans Series, among others, and accepting some private tests and tires of Formula 1, which, after the fall in misfortune of Magny-Cours, has led to intermittent rumors about his return. The resurgence of the motorsport-French Formula 1 in the last few years in terms of riders, and the current presence on the grid by Romain Grosjean, Esteban Ocon and the Renault team have been key to the return of a historical event.
And, until 2008, the Grand Prix of France was a irreplaceable on the calendar: the only test was canceled in 1955, after the Disaster of Le Mans. Alternating between the circuits of Rouen (4 editions) and the velocísimo Reims (11) in its early years, the test also happened in the late 60’s by Bugatti Le Mans (in 1967), and the fearsome path mountain Charade (4 GPs) before Paul Ricard and the short circuit Dijon-Prenois (5) could take over in the 70’s, and Magny-Cours it should settle into something as the seat of the Grand Prix for 18 editions.
With all probabildad, the version that you will use the Formula 1 will be the 1C-V2, 5.842 km, used by the main categories in the circuit (with the exception of passenger cars), which differs from the original in a first two curves slower and more sinuous S-shaped, and a chicane of two turns located in the central part of the line Mistral.