Paul Ricard confirms layout, race slot
8 December 2016 – Paul Ricard will use its 5.8km track layout, featuring a chicane on the Mistral Straight, and hold a late-August slot when it stages the returning French Grand Prix in 2018.
Paul Ricard, supported by the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur, the Var department, the city of Toulon and the FFSA, has agreed an initial five-year deal to host the event.
Neither the circuit layout nor the Grand Prix slot had been specified by officials, but Paul Ricard manager Stéphane Clair has confirmed these details to GPUpdate.net.
Paul Ricard is set to make use of its full 5.8km layout, with the North Chicane splitting up the 1.8km Mistral Straight, and slot into the calendar at the end of August.
Significant work will be carried out at the venue throughout 2017 to prepare for the arrival of Formula 1, and support categories, and cater for the influx of supporters.
"I think it will change the lives of a lot of local people and of the French people as a whole," said Clair, as he discussed the impact of the return on Paul Ricard and the country.
"We have really done it, Formula 1 is coming back to France, at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
"This is an excellent return on all of the hard work, even if there is still a lot to do before 2018, to be fully prepared to receive the many spectators as well as television viewers from all over the world."
Asked if Paul Ricard can cope, he added: "Absolutely. We host over 75,000 for the Bol d'Or race and if we make more arrangements in public areas like grandstands we will be able to host Formula 1 fans.
"Our region offers also plenty of accommodation facilities and the Paul Ricard track is situated less than one-hour [away from] two international airports in Toulon and Marseille, and also train stations."
Belgium currently stages its Formula 1 race on the final weekend of August.
Illustration of the current Circuit Paul Ricard track layout and variations: