French Grand Prix set for F1 return in 2018 at Paul Ricard

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The French Grand Prix is set to return to Formula 1 in 2018 at the Circuit Paul Ricard, with an announcement due on Monday.

France played host to F1 for all but one year from the formation of the world championship in 1950 until 2008 – there was no French GP in 1955 – before dropping off the calendar for the 2009 season.

Paul Ricard hosted the race on-and-off between 1971 and 1990 before Magny-Cours became the permanent venue from 1991. The track most recently hosted a wet-weather F1 test at the beginning of 2016.

A series of reports emerged in the French media on Thursday claiming that the French Grand Prix would return in 2018, with an announcement due to be issued on Monday.

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has now confirmed that the race is poised to return, expecting it to take place towards the end of July in 2018.

“Yes, I think it will happen,” Ecclestone told Reuters. “More or less sort of the German date.”

The return of the French Grand Prix comes following news that the race in Germany had been axed for the second time in three years, dropping off the 2017 schedule after Hockenheim was unable to strike a deal to host the race.

Paul Ricard’s return also offers a boost to the future calendar prospects at a time when doubt surrounds the future of the grands prix in Malaysia and Singapore.