Lonely Planet Writer

Formula One to descend on Burgundy for French Grand Prix in 2018

France and Grand Prix weekends were made for one another yet the surprise is that, if you ignore the Principality of Monaco’s annual event, none has been held on French soil for the past decade.

Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 23, 2015 in Spa, Belgium.
Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 23, 2015 in Spa, Belgium. Image by Lars Baron/Getty Images

All that will change next year with the announcement that the Formula One set will be back with a bang at the Circuit Paul Ricard near the city of Toulon in 2018. Previously, you had to reverse all the way back to 2008 for the last French F1 staging at Magny-Cours at Nevers, Burgundy. That event saw Felipe Massa first to pass the chequered flag in victory.

The 2018 event will take place in a circuit owned by Mr. Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone. It last hosted the event 26 years ago when Alain Prost emerged as winner.France’s English language newspaper, The Connexion, reports that the race is likely to take place in high summer – some time around the end of July which was the slot for the now dropped German Grand Prix.

The major drawback for this calendar arrangement is that it comes at a time when the Riviera is jammed with the holiday traffic of late July, early August. Christian Estrosi, the President of PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) claimed as he announced the new deal that the loss of the Grand Prix in ’08 had left “a real scar” on the nation.

Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 10, 2015 in Montmelo, Spain.
Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 10, 2015 in Montmelo, Spain. Image by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

There is great pride and prestige in a country having its own Formula One race  – but it comes at a price. It is expected that the French GP will require around €30 million to host. Nearly half will come from public funding support while an expected attendance of 66,000 will generate €16 million in gate revenue.PACA stress that on the other side of the equation, the French economy will benefit to the tune of €65 million  and created or secure employment for 500 people.