French GP to return to Paul Ricard in 2018

F1 last raced at Paul Ricard in 1990. (Photo: LAT Photographic)

The French GP is set to return to the calendar for the first time in a decade in 2018 after a deal was struck to run it at the Paul Ricard circuit.

The venue near Marseille, also known as Le Castellet, hosted the race 14 times between 1971 and 1990, initially alternating with Dijon. Magny-Cours subsequently became the event’s home, but commercial reasons meant that F1 didn’t return after the 2008 race.

However, since then leading figures in French motorsport have been campaigning to bring it back, although at least one plan for a brand new venue near Paris failed.

The new deal was announced on Monday at the Automobile Club de France in Paris by Christian Estrosi, president of the Provence and the Cote d'Azur region, where Paul Ricard is located. The track is actually owned by Bernie Ecclestone’s family trust, but the promoters are renting it for the event.

Although absent from the 2017 schedule, the German GP is also set to return in 2018, as the Hockenheim organizers have a contract.