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Paul Ricard

Le Castellet, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur

Built with generous financing from pastis tycoon Paul Ricard, this flat, dusty circuit in southern France was an impressive venue with great facilities when it opened in 1970. The mile-long Mistral straight dominates the full circuit and is followed by the dauntingly fast Signes corner. Though initially heralded as very safe, the full circuit stopped being used for the Grand Prix after Elio de Angelis was killed while testing in 1986. Political pressure in France led to the race moving to Magny-Cours in 1991. Bernie Ecclestone bought the circuit in 1998 and it was redeveloped as a high-class testing venue. Intermittent rumours of the French GP returning will finally become reality in 2018.