Former Scuderia Ferrari driver Jean Alesi, who at the beginning of July was named counsellor and ambassador for the Paul Ricard circuit, has been involved in the development and new projects of the circuit which will host French Grand Prix in 2018. The French racing driver of Italian origin will represent the track to drivers and motorsport world members:
“I am very happy to represent the Paul Ricard.” – said the French-Sicilian who made over 200 starts with Tyrell, Scuderia Ferrari, Benetton, Sauber, Prost and Jordan – “This circuit is special for me: I made here my first steps in racing at Winfield school and I started my first Grand Prix in 1989 at the wheel of the Tyrell 018. This place is symbolic for me and I am very proud to represent it.”
The new Paul Ricard layout will be “a real benchmark” for Formula One drivers when they tackle next year’s French grand prix. That is the claim of Frenchman and former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi, as the Le Castellet circuit on Wednesday launched its 2018 F1 track layout. There had been speculation regarding the fact that Paul Ricard might leave the long Mistral straight intact so that drivers head into the legendary Signes corner at astonishing speeds of over 350kph. However, it has now been officially confirmed that a chicane will instead be in place halfway down the Mistral. Even so, Jean Alesi is looking forward to the first race next year, as the French Grand Prix is scheduled to return to the Formula One calendar in 2018: “The circuit will be a real benchmark for the drivers, because it has every type of corner. I am sure the drivers will all have a lot of fun here.”
The French Grand Prix, formerly known as the Grand Prix de l’ACF, is one of the oldest motor races in the world, but ceased shortly after its centenary in 2008 with 86 races having been held, being a victim of finances and unfavourable venues. In December 2016, it was officially announced that the French Grand Prix will return to Formula One in 2018 at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
10 French drivers have won the French Grand Prix; seven before World War I and II and three during the Formula One championship. French driver Alain Prost won the race six times at three different circuits; however German driver and Scuderia Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher has won eight times- the most anybody has ever won any Grand Prix. Monegasque driver Louis Chiron won it five times, and the Argentine driver Juan Manuel Fangio and British driver Nigel Mansell both won four times.