The Paul Ricard circuit will host the first French Grand Prix for a decade in 2018 according to Christian Estrosi, the president of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region.
Estrosi, a former Formula Three driver, held discussions with Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone about reviving the race as a means of bringing income into the area.
Paul Ricard was built in 1969 and held the French Grand Prix between 1971 and 1990. The race moved to the Magny-Cours circuit in Nevers the following year where it remained until 2008, when it was dropped from the calendar.
Ecclestone bought Paul Ricard in 1999 and converted the track into a dedicated testing facility. Ownership passed to his ex-wife Slavica Ecclestone following their divorce and racing activities were resumed at the track.
Single-seater categories which raced at the track last year included Formula V8 3.5, European Formula Three, Euroformula Open and the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup.
The track already holds an FIA grade one license which permits it to hold F1 races. The venue offers 167 possible track configurations ranging from 0.826km in length to over five-and-a-half kilometres.
Among the course options are ones which approximate the original long circuit, with the full Mistral straight (below), and the shortened version used for its final five F1 races.
The French Grand Prix appeared on the Formula One calendar without fail from the year of the first world championship until 2008, at a total of seven different circuits. Only the British, Italian, German, Monaco and Belgian Grands Prix have been held more often.
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