French Grand Prix returns in 2018

Monday June 19 2017

Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in the Pitlane during the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 11, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. PHOTO | CLIVE MASON | AFP

Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in the Pitlane during the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 11, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. PHOTO | CLIVE MASON | AFP 

By AFP
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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.

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 euros ($85.6m) 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.