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The Paul Ricard Circuit is known for its unusual design; built on a plateau, this circuit is extremely flat. It stands out with its Blue Zone, named after the black and blue painted runoff areas. The Red Zone, the deeper and more abrasive runoff area, circles the former and gives the Paul Ricard Circuit its memorable, colourful look. Historically known for its challenging track, drivers crowned victorious at Paul Ricard would in the past move on to win the World Championship as well.
Famous for the Mistral straight, this circuit boasts one of the longest straights in the World Championship, at 1.8km. In 1986, the track was modified to shorten the circuit by adding a chicane in the middle of the Mistral Straight, bringing its formidable length down to 3.8km. This shorter circuit is also known as the GP short circuit and is 2.369 miles (3.8 km) long. The track offers 167 possible configurations, and its elevation ranges from 408 to 441 metres above sea level. Its flexibility and mild winter weather mean that it is used for testing by several motorsport teams, including Formula 1 teams.
Since its opening in 1970, this circuit has been no stranger to accidents, with constant improvements being added to increase the safety of the track for the drivers testing their skills on it. The Paul Ricard Circuit hosted the French Grand Prix from its debut in 1970 until 1990, when the event was moved to Magny-Cours, where it remained until 2008. Discussions have been continuous since to bring the French Grand Prix back to Paul Ricard, and in 2016, it was announced that the Formula 1 Grand Prix would be hosted at the blue-and-red circuit once again. This marks a double momentous occasion, as it won't only be the first race at Paul Ricard since 1990, but the first French Grand Prix since 2008.