France returns in 2018 as part of F1 triple-header

Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:37pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The French Grand Prix will return to the Formula One calendar next year, for the first time since 2008, as part of an unprecedented triple-header with Austria and Britain.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), published a 21-race 2018 calendar on Monday with France and Germany's Hockenheim, absent this year, returning while Malaysia drops off.

The race at Le Castellet, inland from Marseille, will be on June 24, avoiding a clash with the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16-17, followed by Austria on July 1 and Silverstone on July 8.

Formula One has not had three races on successive weekends before, due to logistical reasons, although it has been mooted.

A proposed street race in New Jersey was sandwiched between Monaco and Canada on the provisional 2014 calendar but the U.S. round did not happen for financial reasons.

The season will start in Australia on March 25 with teams then traveling to Shanghai and Bahrain, which will be back-to-back on April 8 and 15, before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 29.

Russia was the fourth round this year but that race moves away from the May Day holiday weekend to an end of September slot instead.

Spain's Circuit de Barcelona opens the European season on May 13, followed by the showcase Monaco race, before Formula One travels across the Atlantic to Canada on June 10 and then returns to France.   Continued...

An aerial view shows the Paul Ricard circuit at Le Castellet near Marseille, France, in this picture taken on February 17, 2016. The French Formula One Grand Prix will return in 2018 after a 10-year absence it was announced December 5, 2016.      Picture taken February 17, 2016.    REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/File Photo - RTSUQL2