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Promoted: Come for the F1, stay for the French GP entertainment

Fans often ask what on-site activities Formula 1 races offer beyond the flagship racing event. So Motorsport Live explains what else there is to keep everyone entertained throughout the packed three-day schedule through an-depth look at what the French GP is doing to make the event more than just a race.

Promoted: Come for the F1, stay for the French GP entertainment

Track action

Formula 1 will be the focus of attention throughout the weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, as the venue hosts the next instalment of the title fight between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. But as Entertainment & Global Mobility Director, Ludovic Arnault explains, Circuit Paul Ricard is going the extra mile to give spectators the ultimate grand prix experience.

Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Renault RS01

Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Renault RS01

Photo by: LAT Images

 

“As well as Formula 1there will be F2, F3 and the Renault Clio Cup,” explains Arnault, with the junior categories shining a light on those striving to reach the pinnacle of motorsport. “We will also have on both Saturday and Sunday a Renault parade lap, including the 1977 Renault Formula 1 car of Jean-Pierre Jabouille. And fans will also be able to watch the official F1 Drivers’ parade, hosted on both classic cars and the F1 truck.”

Formula 2 and Formula 3 are where you get to see the stars of the future. Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Charles Leclerc are former champions, and among the next generation trying to impress the F1 team bosses is Mick Schumacher, son of the legendry seven-time champion, Michael who has already tested for Ferrari this year.

But Mick won’t have it easy as Williams reserve driver Nicolas Latifi and ex-McLaren protégé Nyck de Vries lead the way in the standings.

The stars of F3 – of which Bottas is a former champ – are a season or two away from the big-time – also has some famous names in the shape of Pedro Piquet, son of triple world champion Nelson, but there it’s Robert Schwartzman who leads the way after the open round of the championship.

Mick Schumacher, Prema Racing

Mick Schumacher, Prema Racing

Photo by: FIA Formula 2

Robert Shwartzman, PREMA Racing

Robert Shwartzman, PREMA Racing

Photo by: FIA F3

It’s unlikely that any of the Renault Clio Cup drivers will be getting an F1 call-up, but that won’t make the racing any less fun or frantic, as the drivers swap paint and bang door handles through every corner.

Renault changed the game in Formula 1 when it introduced turbo-charging in 1977, and it was Jabouille who was entrusted with the ground-breaking car. Initially it was seen as something of a joke, but once its reliability problems were sorted Renault’s 1.5-litre turbo-charged motor demonstrated a clear power advantage over its normally aspirated rivals. So getting to see Jabouille and the ‘yellow tea pot’ re-united is not to be missed.

Off-track activities

Action isn’t just confined to the track.

“We will host one concert after each day, starting 6:30pm Saturday and 7pm Sunday,” confirms Arnault. “DJs du Mistral will be playing on Friday evening, with Bob Sinclar on Saturday and Martin Solveig on Sunday after the race. The concert area will be located towards the north area of the racetrack, with a stage set up near to the chicane. Franky Zapatta is coming back with his flyboard to entertain the crowd with a dedicated show before the race, and we are also expecting the Patrouille de France [where French fighter jets fly above the circuit displaying the famous tri-color of the French flag], and few helicopters to fly over the racetrack.”

Clio Cup action

Clio Cup action

Photo by: Renault Sport

Fans at the Fan Zone

Fans at the Fan Zone

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

Organisers of the French Grand Prix have also gone the extra mile to ensure that there are a wealth of activities elsewhere. 

“As we did last year we are building a ‘village Sud’ that is based on the iconic look of our local villages,” explains Arnault.

“You will be able to find local food, wine and stands from local sellers. Compared to last year there will also be a much wider range of food and beverage options, with food trucks, restaurants and general snacking areas available.

“We are also this year building a village called ‘back to the future’ and that will host an area featuring an Esports arena, a dynamic movie theater, and stands from companies working on new technologies, as well as an outdoor museum. In this museum, we will display classic Renault cars and pieces from motorsport history. All of this will be free to access for anyone who attends the French Grand Prix.”

 
Drivers in the eSports arena

Drivers in the eSports arena

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

Spectators will also have the opportunity to get involved with all of the social media action and, as usual, there will be the chance to get up close and personal with the Formula 1 drivers, courtesy of stage appearances and autograph sessions.

“Fans will also be able to take selfies with a giant hashtag (#GPFRANCEF1),” adds Arnault. “And all through the weekend they will be entertained by a band of around 30 people that will do small shows around the racetrack and in the grandstands.  

“We will have the official F1 Fanzone, which will host the official F1 shop, and there will also be driver appearances on the main stage.”

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Series Formula 1
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