20 Jun 2017

Formula 1 returns to France

6:53 am on 20 June 2017

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.

Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 action

Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 action Photo: Photosport

The governing body the FIA has published a 21-race 2018 calendar 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.

The season will start in Australia on March 25 with teams then travelling 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.

Sean Bratches, commercial managing director for Formula One after former supremo Bernie Ecclestone was moved aside in January following Liberty Media's takeover, has spoken of the need to divide the calendar more clearly into regions.

"We're trying to align these things better by territory: European races, the American races, the Asian races," he told Reuters this month.

Liberty wants ultimately to increase the number of races in the United States and there has been talk of the calendar stretching to as many as 25 rounds after 2018.