F1 2018 New Circuit Focus: Paul Ricard

Philip Boeckman Paul Ricard French Grand Prix

The French Grand Prix is returning to Formula One for the first time in nearly a decade this year, a welcome return for a county considered racing royalty. 

One of the oldest races in Motorsport, the French Grand Prix enjoyed a century-long run, from 1908 through to 2008. Ferrari have historically dominated in France, winning 17 races, the closest challenger being Williams with 8 wins.

The 2018 version of the race will take place at the Circuit Paul Ricard. The track has recently featured on the WEC and MotoGP calendar, and this year's edition will be the first F1 race at the circuit since 1989. 

Not all Formula One fans are happy with the choice of Paul Ricard, however. The track layout is very expansive, with huge run-off areas and open plan. Overtaking opportunities will apparently be few and far between and isolated mainly to the incredibly long Mistral Straight. 

The track will be altered to better suit Formula One, a move which again has irked fans. The 1.8km long Mistral Straight will feature a chicane to slow cars down as they near the Signes corner, although cars are still expected to reach a top speed of 344km/h (213 mph). 

Haas driver Romain Grosjean is optimistic that the circuit will deliver good racing:

Adding the chicane in the middle of the main straight should help with overtaking," says Haas' Romain Grosjean.

"It will be full throttle before a very big breaking zone. If a driver defends his line while breaking for the chicane, he may not have a good exit.

"That could provide the car behind with another overtaking opportunity at Signes, which will be flat-out, with the possibility of going through it two abreast!"

Ex-Formula One driver Jean Alesi is very hopeful about his home track:

The circuit will be a real benchmark for the drivers, because it has every type of corner. I am sure the drivers will all have a lot of fun here."


Philip Boeckman

Huge fan of @F1 and Motor Racing in general. I blog about anything and everything from the world of Formula 1