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Need To Know: 2021 French Grand Prix

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the French Grand Prix weekend on June 18-20, 2021!

Formula 1 is back in France in 2021 having missed out on a visit to Circuit Paul Ricard last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The French Grand Prix returned to the calendar in 2018 after a ten-year absence. It was the first time F1 raced at Circuit Paul Ricard since 1990. 

Lewis Hamilton has dominated at the circuit since its return to the sport. He won from pole in 2018 and 2019 and led all but one lap in those two races. This year, the Mercedes driver will be hoping to take back the lead of the Drivers’ Championship from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who sits at the top of the standings for the first time in his career.

Exploring the French Riviera

With the track located near Marseille, a trip to the French Grand Prix also offers a great opportunity to check out the Cote d’Azur region of France. The area is famed for its pretty coastline and great food.

If you’re staying around for an extra week, you can switch four wheels for two, as the 2021 Tour de France begins the week after the French Grand Prix! We’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit in the region in Off-Track Activities.

Heading to Le Castellet for the first time? All the essential travel information, including details on COVID-19 restrictions, is in Travel Basics.

Coronavirus protocols

With tickets for the French Grand Prix almost sold out, the race is set to have one of the largest audiences since the beginning of the pandemic. A maximum of 15,000 fans are expected to attend on each day of the race weekend, with the circuit divided into three zones. 

French Grand Prix organisers say that the health and safety of all attending fans is their priority, and the steps they are taking to combat any risk of exposure to coronavirus is laid out on their website

Fans in attendance will require a ‘Sanitary Pass’ on entry to the circuit. That means you will need either proof of a recent negative coronavirus test, a certificate of recovery from COVID-19, or a certificate of vaccination with “completed” status.

Accessing the circuit

General Admission tickets for the event were the 17th most expensive from the 21 races in 2019. Due to restrictions resulting from the pandemic, there were no General Admission tickets available for the 2021 French Grand Prix. Tickets are reasonably affordable for locals, costing around 5.5% of the average local monthly wage.

While 160,000 fans attended in 2018, that figure was down to 135,000 in 2019. The influx of cars mixed with poorly executed travel arrangements by the circuit for the 2018 race led to long delays for most in attendance, but those issues were ironed out in 2019 and, with attendance figures capped in 2021, traffic is unlikely to be much of an issue. 

In a change to previous races at the circuit, there will be no Park and Ride or bus services this year. It means that the only way to get to the circuit is to drive yourself there, or take a taxi. Click here more information and advice on how to get to the track. 

Going to the race? Join our closed Facebook group Going to the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard to connect with fellow fans and find answers to your questions!

Date change and support races

There was a late change of date for this year’s French Grand Prix. Due to the cancellation of the Turkish Grand Prix, the event was brought forward by one week. Unfortunately, the date change means fans will miss out on seeing Romain Grosjean’s planned return to F1 machinery. He was expected to perform demonstration runs with Mercedes, but the French Grand Prix date now clashes with an IndyCar race. The second season of W Series was also expected to begin at the French Grand Prix, but the date change means that the first race of the season will now be at the Styrian Grand Prix.

The good news is that there are still other support races taking place at the track. Formula 3 will contest its second round of the 2021 season with three races over the weekend. Dennis Hauger, who won the first Feature Race of the season, leads the way in the championship. Two Renault Clio Cup races will also take place ahead of the F1 action on Saturday and Sunday.

You can find all the vital information about watching the race, including session times, on our updated Trackside page.

If you’re not in Le Castellet for this year’s French Grand Prix but want to attend next year, you can start early preparations for your trip in 2022 by checking out the best available hotels and what the local area has to offer!

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