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French GP back on F1 calendar from 2018

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/12/2016

The French Grand Prix will return to the Formula One calendar in 2018 after a 10-year absence.

Christian Estrosi, the head of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region, said on Monday the race would be organised at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France.

The world's oldest grand prix was first held in 1906 but was dropped from the calendar in 2008 due to financial issues.

The Paul Ricard circuit, also known as Le Castellet, last hosted the French GP in 1990.

The race was organised at Magny-Cours from 1991 to 2008.

Estrosi said French officials had sealed a five-year deal with F1 organisers.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Losing the grand prix was a true scar for our country," Estrosi said at the Automobile Club de France.

"I can today make the firm and definitive announcement that the Grand Prix de France will return at the Paul Ricard circuit as soon as the 2018 summer."

The announcement came just days after the German Grand Prix was dropped from the 2017 calendar.

Estrosi paid tribute to the late driver Jules Bianchi, who died in 2015 following a long battle to recover from head injuries suffered at the Japanese GP in October 2014.

"I'm dedicating this big return to my friend Jules," Estrosi said.

"My thoughts are with his family."

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