Formula One: French Grand Prix returns in 2018

Formula One: French Grand Prix returns in 2018

File photo of Felipe Massa of Brazil during qualifying for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Jun 10, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. (Mark Thompson/Getty Images/AFP)

PARIS: The French Grand Prix returns to the Formula One calendar in 2018 after a decade-long absence at Le Castellet's Paul Ricard circuit near Marseille, motorsport's governing body the FIA confirmed on Monday (Jun 19).

France, home of the first ever Grand Prix in 1908, last held a leg of the F1 championship in 2008.

Felipe Massa in a Ferrari won that race at Magny-Cours, when a major budget deficit was shouldered by the French state and local authorities.

The Paul Ricard circuit, which will stage the race on June 24 next season, held 14 grand prix between 1971 and 1990, when French four-time world champion Alain Prost was victorious.

Since 2002 the track's shareholders have invested €80 million (US$85.6 million) to bring it up to scratch.

The circuit is named in honour of the man who used to bankroll it, the late industrialist who made his fortune from the pastis that bears his name.

Formula One world championship schedule for 2018 season:

Mar 25: Australia (Melbourne)

Apr 8: China (Shanghai)
Apr 15: Bahrain (Sakhir)
Apr 29: Azerbaijan (Baku)

May 13: Spain (Barcelona)
May 27: Monaco

Jun 10: Canada (Montreal)
Jun 24: France (Le Castellet)

Jul 1: Austria (Spielberg)
Jul 8: Britain (Silverstone)
Jul 22: Germany (Hockenheim)
Jul 29: Hungary (Budapest)

Aug 26: Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)

Sep 2: Italy (Monza)
Sep 16: Singapore
Sep 30: Russia (Sochi)

Oct 7: Japan (Suzuka)
Oct 21: United States (Austin)
Oct 28: Mexico (Mexico City)

Nov 11: Brazil (Sao Paulo)
Nov 25: Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)

Source: AFP/de