Back in 2008, due to “unfavorable financial circumstances and venues,“ the French Grand Prix held at the Paul Ricard circuit near Marseille was scrapped from the Formula 1 calendar.
Next weekend, the world's most famous racing series is making a comeback to France, at it plans to do so with a bang.
Formula 1 announced at the end of last week it would hold an F1 Festival in the French city, as a means to “bringing a new generation of fans into the sport.” This would be the third F1 festival held this season, following the ones in London and Shanghai.
The organizers would not charge anything to those willing to attend. In the center of Marseille, the festival would comprise the F1 Park, F1 Live an F1 House.
The F1 Park would be located on Marseille’s waterfront and will be open from Friday 22 June to Sunday 24 June. Visitors there will be able to watch a live stream of each stage of the Formula 1 Pirelli Grand Prix de France.
The F1 Live would celebrate Renault’s 120th anniversary with the Renault Passion Parade, an assembly of 14 historic cars that would tour the city. For VIPs, the F1 House would be open at Sport Beach.
Aside from these three activities, the festival would also see an F1 Live car run on Friday 22 June. Franck Montagny, a former French F1 driver, would get behind the wheel of a 2012 Renault E20 and would tour the city. Accompanying him would be Aston Martin Red Bull Racing ambassador David Coulthard, driving a Red Bull RB7.
Returning to France for a Grand Prix was a decision taken last year by Formula 1 in an attempt to bolster the series' popularity. At the time when a return to France was decided, a comeback to Germany was also added to the calendar.
With 21 events planned, the 2018 Formula 1 season equals the record for the greatest number of races in a year, established in 2016.