French GP organisers will respond to fans over traffic chaos

2018 French Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

The organisers of the French Grand Prix say they will respond to all Formula 1 fans who reported problems with traffic jams at last month’s race.

Serious traffic problems caused huge delays as thousands of fans made their way to the Paul Ricard track during the race weekend.

Some fans reported on social media they turned back and did not attend on days they had purchased tickets for. Others abandoned their cars and walked several kilometres to get to the circuit. Many of those who did reach the track encountered further severe delays trying to leave later in the day as car parks ground to a standstill.

Over 2,000 fans have joined an unofficial Facebook group to register their complaints about the poor organisation at the track.

A French GP spokesperson told RaceFans they were in the process of conducting an “exhaustive debrief” on the race organisation including the traffic problems. “We are analysing the situation and will respond to all fans shortly,” they added.

The orgnisers claimed a total race weekend attendance of 160,000 across Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Race day attendance was capped at 65,000.

The race organisers had been aware of the potential traffic problems around the circuit prior to the race. In January RaceFans was told traffic jams were “expected” during the race weekend but the organisers were “working on it to speed up ingress and egress.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Image: Facebook

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

12 comments on “French GP organisers will respond to fans over traffic chaos”

  1. Things like this make me think that maybe an F1 race at a track like Road America isn’t so farfetched. The knock against it has always been that it’s in the middle of nowhere, but there were 45,000 people there for IndyCar two weekends ago and we were in and out of parking in 5 minutes each way on race day. It could easily host 65,000 if it needed to.

    1. @markzastrow I live a few hours away from Road America. I don’t know what the situation is at Paul Ricard, but around Road America, there are three relatively ‘major’ freeways within a decent distance which probably could help to ease the traffic. However, I don’t believe someone was in and out of Road America in five minutes on a regular day, let alone an Indycar race day.

      1. Well, granted we arrived early—drove up around 8:30 am on race day—but it was straight into parking outside the main straight. That was definitely under five minutes.

        We left right after the IndyCar race, though, with the rush. We crawled along for about five minutes before a volunteer waved us and the cars behind us through media parking and to the exit on the other side of the track. Okay, it took another five minutes to drive there, so I suppose it was ten mins total.

        Maybe we got lucky. The best part of the whole parking experience was getting cut off by Paul Tracy in his rental car as we exited the track!

  2. @mazdachris is that you on the picture?

    1. @johnmilk Thanks for the thought, but no. That’s a MK2, and I guess either French or from somewhere else on the continent judging from the plates and it being a left hand drive. I’ve got a UK MK3. The one in my profile picture (I think..). Plus I didn’t go to the French GP. I did go to Le Mans this year, and vaguely considered doing both but there was no way we could afford it. Plus we went in the wife’s Ford EcoSport because, having done Le Mans in the MX-5 before, 8 hours spent in a sports car is not the fun experience it may appear to be :)

      1. from the size of the picture and my poor vision I could only tell it was an MX-5

        having done Le Mans in the MX-5 before, 8 hours spent in a sports car is not the fun experience it may appear to be

        Well a friend and I are planning to do the so called “Portuguese rout 66”, or as we call it “Nacional 2” in an MX-5, so that doesn’t sound promising. Also and this is the biggest problem we have at the moment, neither of us has one, and we growing families it is a bit difficult to convince the other half that your second car should be a two seater, we are working on it though

        1. deMercer (@)
          5th July 2018, 16:52

          having done Le Mans in the MX-5 before, 8 hours spent in a sports car is not the fun experience it may appear to be

          A number of years ago my wife have done several trips from Holland to Italy in our Fiat barchetta. We found it nice experiences, so I guess it is quite personal how you value the experience.

          1. deMercer (@)
            5th July 2018, 16:53

            my wife have done

            Must be “my wife and I have done” of course …

        2. it is a bit difficult to convince the other half that your second car should be a two seater

          I’ll signed any online petition for that.

  3. I still don’t understand how did they let all this mess to happen in the first place. The return of the French GP at the Paul Ricard Circuit was confirmed as far back as in December 2016, so the organizers had approximately a year and a half at the very least to sort all the traffic arrangements, etc., in time for the race weekend, and yet they still managed to fail at that massively. #YouHadOneJob #IncompetenceAtItsBest

    1. @jerejj
      Silverstone’s been hosting F1 races for nearly 70 years now, and they still haven’t managed to make traffic a non-nightmare. It’s not like Paul Ricard invented incompetence.

      1. nase, the feedback from a number of fans who have visited Silverstone on this site seems to have generally been that, whilst there are a few bottlenecks, the traffic generally flows reasonably well and tailbacks normally are measured in minutes rather than hours.

        In the case of Paul Ricard, though, the problem was known about not just in 2016 (when they got the contract), but long before that – there were veteran fans complaining that the traffic jams were just as bad back in 1990, when Paul Ricard last held a race, and some of Force India’s most experienced staff have said that even back in 1971, at the very first race that ever took place at Paul Ricard, there were horrendous traffic jams.

        They’ve been having problems for closer to 50 years at Paul Ricard, but the infrastructure has basically not been upgraded since the track opened in 1970 – which was why those fans who went there back in the 1980’s and 1990’s were betting that the traffic would be as bad as it turned out to be.

Comments are closed.