The French Grand Prix is one of the oldest and most influential motor races in the world which was first held in 1906. It was instrumental in establishing regulations and trends in the early years of Grand Prix racing. The race has been part of the Formula One World Championship since its inception in 1950 and has been held at 16 different venues,
Along with the Belgian, Italian and Spanish races, the French Grand Prix is one of only four to have been part of the World Manufacturers’ Championship in the 1920s, the European Championship in the 1930s, and the Formula One Championship today. With its longevity and influence over the sport, the French Grand Prix has long been an important race on the F1 calendar. Unfortunately, there will be no French Grand Prix in 2024.
History of the French Grand Prix
France is where Grand Prix racing was born with the French Grand Prix being the oldest international competition in the series. The first ever French Grand Prix took place on closed public roads outside the city of Le Mans in 1906. The event quickly gained popularity and was hosted in numerous French towns during the early decades including Dieppe, Amiens, Strasbourg, Tours and Lyon.
From the mid-1970s, the French F1 Grand Prix took place at either the Dijon-Prenois circuit or the Circuit Paul Ricard near Marseille before settling at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours from 1991 to 2008. After a decade without holding the French Grand Prix, due to financial issues, the race returned to the F1 calendar at Paul Ricard in 2018 but was again removed before the 2023 season.
European F1 Grand Prix Calendar (2024)
|August 30 – September 1
Circuit Paul Ricard
Built on a plateau between mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, the Circuit Paul Ricard is known for its striking blue and red run-off areas. The 5.8km track features an abrasive surface which challenges tyres. After the mistral straight, the sweeping Signes curve is taken at over 180mph.
The technical middle sector includes the Le Beausset double right hander before cars accelerate through the winding back straight. The off camber final turn leads onto the 1km long mistral straight where F1 cars can hit 200mph. Paul Ricard’s layout provides opportunities for overtaking into the heavy braking zones.
Winners of the French Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher’s victory at Magny-Cours in 2006 made Formula 1 history when he became the first driver to win any Grand Prix eight times on only one circuit. Frenchman, Alain Prost, celebrated 6 French Grand Prix victories on home soil whilst the last four races have been shared between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Here are the victors at Paul Ricard since the race returned in 2018:
|Not Held due to Covid-19 Pandemic
Fan Guide to the French Grand Prix
Getting to the French Grand Prix
The nearest international airport is Marseille Provence which lies 65km south-east of the Circuit Paul Ricard. Regular shuttle buses run from the airport and Marseille city centre to the circuit over grand prix weekends. Nice Cote d’Azur airport is also within 90 minutes of the track.
The small coastal towns around the French Riviera provide charming local accommodation options for F1 fans, though rooms fill up fast. Book private rentals in places like Bandol and Sanary-Sur-Mer months in advance for French GP weekends.
Circuit Paul Ricard provides parking and campsite areas for French Grand Prix visitors. Use the recommended routes and parking at the track to save time on crowded race days in the south of France.
French Grand Prix Tickets
Tickets for the French Grand Prix usually go on sale in January. The cheapest tickets are the weekend general admission passes. Bronze grandstand seats are more expensive but offer significantly better views. Higher ticket categories give access to the open-air paddock and plasma TV screens to follow the action.