Formula 1 World Championship
The French Grand Prix (French: Grand Prix de France), formerly known as the Grand Prix de l’ACF, is a race held as part of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile’s annual Formula One automobile racing championships. It is one of the oldest motor races in the world. It ceased shortly after its centenary in 2008 with 86 races having been held, a victim of finances and unfavourable venues.
The race is scheduled to return to the Formula One calendar in 2018 at the established Circuit Paul Ricard. Unusually even for a race of such longevity, the location of the Grand Prix has moved frequently with 16 different venues having been used over its life, a number only eclipsed by the Australian Grand Prix of the older races. It is also one of four races (along with the Belgian, Italian and Spanish Grands Prix) to have been held as part of the three distinct Grand Prix championships (World Manufacturers’ Championship (late 1920s), European Championship (1930s), Formula One World Championship (since 1950)).
The Grand Prix de l’ACF was tremendously influential in the early years of Grand Prix racing, leading the establishment of the rules and regulations of racing as well as setting trends in the evolution of racing. The power of original organiser, the Automobile Club de France, established France as the home of motor racing organisation.
The Circuit Paul Ricard is a motorsport race track built in 1969 at Le Castellet, near Marseille, in France, with finance from the eccentric pastis magnate Paul Ricard. Ricard wanted to experience the challenge of building a racetrack. The track is characterised by its long Mistral straight (1.8 km) and elongated track design. The track is also unusual in that it is built on a plateau, and is very flat. The length of the full track is around 5.861 km (3.642 mi). In 1986 the track was modified to shorten the circuit, by adding a chicane in the middle of the Mistral Straight. This shorter circuit is also known as the GP short circuit and is 2.369 miles (3.8 km) long. The track offers 167 possible configurations from 826 to 5,861 metres. The track’s elevation ranges from 408 to 441 metres above sea level. Its flexibility and mild winter weather mean that it is used for testing by several motorsport teams, including Formula One teams. The track is known for its distinctive black and blue runoff areas known as the Blue Zone. The runoff surface consists of a mixture of asphalt and tungsten, used instead of gravel traps, as common at other circuits. A second, deeper run-off area is the Red Zone, with a more abrasive surface designed to maximize tyre grip and hence minimize braking distance, although at the cost of extreme tyre wear. The final safeguard consists of Tecpro barriers, a modern improvement on tyre barriers.
Number of laps : 53
Circuit length : 5.861 km
Race distance : 310.633 km