French GP tipped for Paul Ricard return in 2018

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In the round-up: Paul Ricard, the former home of the French Grand Prix, is tipped to return to the Formula One calendar in 2018.

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52 comments on “French GP tipped for Paul Ricard return in 2018”

  1. I LOVE Circuit Paul Ricard! I hope this goes ahead. Such a fun track. It should replace the incredibly dull Abu Dhabi, they have very similar looking runoff areas.

    1. Not only do they have similar looking runoff areas, they also have virtually no challenging corners and there are no real overtaking possibilities apart from a DRS straight ending in a chicane. They both have no elevation changes either and might as well just be parking lots with painted corners on it.

      Imho Paul Ricard ís Yas Marina without the fancy looking buildings and harbor.

      1. It’s still completely different from Tilkedromes. Great circuit. Hope they going to use pre 1986 full configuration with single 1.9 km full throttle back straight.

  2. If Paul Ricard returns it would be fantastic. Presumably they could just get temporary grandstands at the main spots and barring the usual preparations, off they go.

    I’d be curious to see which layout they would use, it wouldn’t surprise me if they choose the longest and slowest one, but I would love to see something with more pace and more laps.

    1. WeatherManNX01
      2nd December 2016, 0:45

      There is no proper grandstand to speak of, and the pit entry is rather short and abrupt. If I had to guess, it currently seats roughly 4000 or so in what fixed seating there is. They’re going to have to spend 2017 working on upgrades to improve those areas and add seating elsewhere around the circuit to bring it up to Bernie’s standards and have a chance of making enough money to meet his asking price (and while a company of his owns the track, I wouldn’t imagine for one second he gave them much of a discount, because $$$).

      And, as a guess, I’m thinking this is why Paul Ricard is on the 2017 F3 calendar.

      1. Robert (@skylab007)
        2nd December 2016, 1:04

        Paul Ricard seems to have been dropped from the 2017 F3 calendar. It was the opening round this year… :)

        1. WeatherManNX01
          2nd December 2016, 8:06

          Yup, definitely missed the word “not” in there. Kinda changes the meaning.


      2. Well, if Bernie owns Paul Ricard, let’s say 80% of the equity for example, and Bernie owns 2.5% of FOM, then it would most certainly be in Bernie’s interest to provide Paul Ricard with a steep discount. The real question is why Liberty and CVC would agree to it: presumably because Bernie convinced them it was worth making this investment (a discount) in a French Grand Prix.

  3. Does bernie still own paul ricard??
    On another note i hope they use the full mistral straight, but i doubt they will, speeds into signes would me mega!!

  4. I don’t know what COTD is all about. On most of those 11 qualifying sessions, Raikkonen was plain faster than Vettel. The one we don’t know about is obviously Singapore. But even that weekend as evident from the practice sessions Raikkonen was on-course to at least give Vettel a run for his money. No ‘frustrations’ can explain Vettel’s (mostly microscopic, I must add) qualifying deficits in the second half of the season.

    1. If Seb has a poor season again next year, what would we say about him then?

      I remember Alonso saying a few years back of how Seb’s 4 titles will hurt him in future. This hasn’t happened so far though. The press and fans have been quite patient thus far.

    2. I also think that when you look at Ferrari’s strategy desicions, it was all too clear that they were far from solid, and also that they always favoured only one of the drivers. It often meant that when both Kimi and Vettel were in the race, Kimi got the worst end of it @sravan-pe, @jaymenon10

    3. Pure speculation on my part. I don’t think we were watching Vettel at his peak form like we saw last year and also in 2011 & 2013. I think we had a frustrated and unmotivated Vettel like that of 2014.

      He saw three possible wins this season lost through strategy, a failure to close the gap up further to Mercedes than they did last year, and being overhauled by Red Bull to sink back into their default 3rd best team position.

      Like I said, pure speculation on my part but I feel Raikkonen’s performance relative to Vettel this year was more about Vettel slipping than Raikkonen being back to his best.

  5. I’m French and would appreciate a return of the French GP, but come on, Paul Ricard is a test track.

    On TV, it’s just horrible to watch a race on (cf: Formula V8).

    1. Yeah, I am not sure what to make of it either. On the one hand it would be great to have a french GP again, but Paul Ricard? What grandstands, what access and the track really isn’t all that good for races @jeff1s, @craig-o. And as you say, with the super bright colours it made it hard to watch on TV whenever I tried to.

    2. I always liked Magny-Cours, even though it isn’t a popular opinion, and it is maybe a pattioned point of view because when I was growing up F1 went there.

      And if I’m honest there is really one place to overtake

      Apart from those two I don’t see really where they could make the French GP. Any suggestions @jeff1s??

      1. @johnmilk Magny-Cours is a fun track to play on the driving games but from a viewer point of view i always hated it because the racing there in the dry were always just plain awful.

        it’s telling that the most memorable dry race is probably 2004 which was a race where literally nothing happened on the track, no overtaking, no close fight, no decent racing…. just a very unusual 4 stop fuel strategy that resulted in the fight for the lead been done via a time trial rather than a good on track scrap.

        paul ricard may be aesthetically less pleasing due to the runoff, but the racing there was always pretty good, especially on the full gp layout. the full layout was also very popular with drivers as it has a nice mix of fast, medium & slow speed corners as well as a few technical bits & of course the very long mistral straight.

        if i had to pick between magny-bores or paul ricard, i’d pick paul ricard every single time.

        1. I agree completly

          As I said, my opinion comes from an illogical point of view.

  6. the biggest parking lot of all racetracks…

  7. Paul Ricard is more of a car park than Sochi. I don’t think I have ever seen decent open-wheel race there.

    1. Ricard is far, far more of an exciting circuit than Sochi. 1.1 mile straight, different variations of fast and slow corners. OK, it’s flat- but at least it’s fast.

      1. And Sochi is one of the 5 worst circuits ever used for F1- I would also put Abu Dhabi, Valencia, Caesar’s Palace and the Zeltweg Airfield on that list as well.

  8. Good, solid interview with Jack Villeneuve. Good to read.

  9. Couldn’t it be held at Le Mans ,I’m looking to buy a place near there next year.

    1. Jeff Powell, the ACO have sworn that Formula 1 shall never be allowed to use the Circuit de la Sarthe for a race – so long as both they and the 24 Hours of Le Mans exist, you can forget about that prospect.

      1. Sorry I should have put TIC ,tongue in cheek.

    2. And it won’t be held at the Bugatti circuit anytime soon, either- that circuit was once used for the ’67 French GP- and it was never used again for an F1 GP. The 1921 and 1929 French GP’s were held on the Sarthe circuit but that track was quite different to the one in use today. Personally I would like the French GP to be held at a revamped version of the Montlhery circuit (using the 3.9 mile road circuit only, minus the concrete banking) or the Charade circuit near Clermont Ferrand. It’s half as long as it used to be but it’s still pretty impressive.

    3. WeatherManNX01
      2nd December 2016, 8:13

      The Bugatti Circuit and Circuit de la Sarthe are Grade 2 circuits. I think F1 only races on Grade 1 circuits.

  10. I would rather have Paul Ricard anyday over Magny-Cours. I think seeing the cars blast down the 1.1 mile straight there will be quite a spectacle. But I am not sure Ecclestone will be comfortable seeing a French GP at a location that is not too far away from Monaco. My wishful thinking tells me that I would like to see the French GP at a revamped version of the Montlhery autodrome (the 3.9 mile road circuit, minus the concrete banking) or the Charade circuit near Clermont-Ferrand (it’s still pretty impressive considering it is half as long as it used to be)

  11. Re: Paul Ricard return – yeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh! This is great news. Estoril next please. :-)

    1. If F1 goes back to Portugal, it would be in Portimão.

      I like the enthusiams though

    2. Why Estoril, it’s a rubbish circuit that never produced any decent racing.

      the algarve circuit would be a far better place for a Portuguese gp.

      1. Don’t care where just bring back some more Euro GPs. Me and my wife are going to Sochi next year ’cause we’ve run out of any races closer to home. :-D x

        1. @f1bobby lets just hope liberty goes through with their plans for more euro gps. I would prefer Portugal, because I am fron there, but there are plenty of circuits woth history and f1 llegacy that could return (This applies for other continents of course).

  12. French GP: Yes, please. Paul Ricard: not so much.

    Can’t they just somehow take Magny-Cours out of the middle of nowhere and put it someplace more interesting? It’s such a fantastic track.

  13. Not sure why the return of Paul Ricard would excite for any other reason than it being in Europe and it being a nice weekend away in the Provence. It’s a terrible circuit, terrible for TV viewers and terrible for racing. Urgh.

    1. The only positive I can imagine is that the run off is quite quickly too abrasive for the tyres, meaning you actually get punished for going off the track.

      1. @hahostolze
        Haven’t the abrasive painted lines worn down now ?
        Can’t remember what series it was, but one of the drivers mentioned last year that most of the abrasiveness had been lost, and is now no different to any other off track area.

        1. I’ll defer to you, I simply don’t know.

    2. @hahostolze Paul ricard is not a terrible circuit & its not terrible for racing.

      When F1 used to race there it was always a popular circuit among the drivers (And fans) & often produced very good racing, far better than any of the dry races that happened at magny-bores!

      1. Entirely different circuit these days

        1. @hahostolze Not correct as the long layout that F1 used to use at paul ricard prior to 1986 is still there & is the primary layout used by most categories.

          long layout last used by f1 in 1985-

          And the long layout (layout 1a) as it is today-

          even the short layout that f1 ran from 1986-1990 is still as it was-

  14. I remember when guys like Senna and Schumacher came, they also had a different approach and were a shock awakening for the establishment of their time. They also were criticised massively.

    I have had a bee in my bonnet about this for a while. I always wonder why are Senna and Schumacher are singled out as the only models on whom aspiring world champions should base themselves? Why can people not go out and benchmark themselves against other drivers in history who were the best in their era and who were utterly dominant, but who were also complete gentlemen with the respect and admiration of their peers.

    The drivers who spring to mind here are Juan Manuel Fangio and Jim Clark. I am pretty annoyed that people seem to think that the only way to become F1 world champion is by being a borderline sociopath with a “I want to win and I don’t care what I had to do to do it” attitude.

    Being focussed and committed to the task at hand does not mean that you have to come in and rub people up the wrong way. These drivers are proof that you could go about the job in a far less abrasive way and still get the end result. I sincerely hope that there is still room for drivers like Fangio and Clark in the modern era.

    1. But your comparison is from a different time in every single way. It is completely incompatible with modern life. Nobody will ever do what Stirling Moss did to Mike Hawthorne. But life is different too. A gentleman in the fifties and sixties was a gentleman because of cultural elements that are long gone dead. To wish for people to be that way these days is like wishing we’d all dress in tweed. It’s dead.

      1. The core of the gentlemanly approach can also be seen in such modern champions as Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button (as well as almost-champion Felipe Massa – non-champions have good things to teach upcoming drivers too).

        There is room for drivers like Clark and Fangio in the current era, and every so often, somebody proves it.

        1. They’re not remotely gentlemanly in the way Fangio and Clark were and as such it’s a nonsensical comparison.

    2. Great comment @geemac!

      And I disagree with @hahostolze, I don’t think that being a “gentleman” is somehow antachronistic in this day and age.

  15. If you think about it Paul Ricard is perfect for modern Formula 1: A great big run way right next to the track to fly in the VIPs to the paddock club. All tarmac run off covered in weird paint patterns and next to no grandstands so no horrible grubby spectators making the place look untidy. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a race there recently. Perhaps Bernie didn’t give himself a good enough deal.

  16. I read a few days ago when he won one of the nominations that Francois Fillon (looks favourite to be the next French president) is a bit of a racing nut. So even if this particular plan falls through, I think he’ll try to make something happen if he’s elected.

    1. Morningview66
      2nd December 2016, 17:54

      His brother Pierre Fillion is president of the ACO the guys who run Le Mans/WEC.
      Perhaps he could have a word in his brothers ear.

  17. Jonathan O'Brien
    2nd December 2016, 13:26

    Rosberg has just announced he is retiring, and on this bombshell….

  18. My god, not Paul Ricard. It’s awful hospitality, dreadful layout and hypnotizing runoff tarmac, urgh, it would make Baku look amazing. It’s a testtrack and the one truly ‘Mickey Mouse’ track that does not deserve a spot on the calendar. Even Magny-boring-Cours would be a better option. If I were France, I’d build a new track, and flash le finger to mister Tilke.

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