I know you all know this but the phrase Grand Prix means Great Prize, which is a bit of a clue as to the history of motor racing. The first ever Grand Prix took place in France in 1906. There was a race in the first season of the World Championships in 1950 and apart from 1955 (after the Le Mans tragedy) there was a race in France every year up until 2008. The French Grand Prix was, is and will continue to be part of the history of F1 and the fact that the powers that run Formula One chose to drop it from the calendar from 2008 was a disgrace and insult to the heritage of the sport. Regardless of the finances, there are certain races which must be on the F1 Calendar and France is one of those. Liberty media would do well to look at the history of the sport and learn what the sport needs not just from a financial perspective but also from an historical one. Anyway, enough of my ranting France is back. Hooray! The race is taking place at Paul Ricard. Hooray, sort of. Why sort of? Well, Paul Ricard has a history in F1 with the race taking place there at various times in the 70's and 80's, sharing duties with the circuit at Dijon Prenois. But the circuit which was used back then has been heavily revised for safety reasons since the 80's. The old back straight was over a mile long and watching the turbo cars of the 80's blast down this was something to behold. After the death of Elio de Angelis a chicane was put in to the straight and then the circuit was shortened. The bizarre thing is de Angelis' death had little to do with the length of the straight and more to do with the poor emergency support at the practice session. By the way, we shall have to refer to the circuit as Le Castellet otherwise we are giving free advertising to an alcoholic drink maker who only paid for the track to be built. Not like he deserves any credit is it? Perhaps we should now call it the Circuit Bernie Ecclestone, after the current owner. In fairness to Bernie he has invested a lot of money to improve the facilities to the point where it can host a Grand Prix but then he has a lot of money doesn't he. So along with the emasculated track comes another strange innovation. There are no gravel traps at Le Castellet, instead there are blue and red stripes painted around the edge of the track which are designed to slow the cars down should they enjoy an excursion off road. These painted run off areas are a mix of asphalt and tungsten and the red sections are deeper than the blue so give more grip to the tyres, slowing the cars down. Having watched a WTCC race it is sometimes difficult to work out where the track runs and, reading some stuff to write this article, found out that the circuit has 167 possible configurations. I wonder if any of the drivers will get lost? Having just got over the "excitement" of Canada I can't be bothered to get too much into where we are in the 2018 championship. Suffice to say that pole will be either from Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull and the winner will also be from one of these teams. The test will be whether Merc bring their upgraded engine to France and if this will get them closer to Ferrari. Enjoy one of the historically most important races Formula One could have. I hope it will provide some close action but I have a horrible feeling it will struggle to beat the number of overtakes in Canada. It should be better than Monaco though.