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Formula 1 set to return to France

Le Castellet circuit near Marseille expected to welcome Grand Prix from 2013, alternating with Belgium

FORMULA One World Championship racing is set to return to France from 2013, alternating with Belgium over a two-year cycle.

The announcement from Gilles Dufeigneux, the interministerial delegate for large sporting events, and Bernie Ecclestone, the chair of Formula 1 racing, is expected this afternoon.

The most likely circuit to be used is the Le Castellet circuit near Marseille which was purchased in 1999 by Excelis, a company owned by Bernie Ecclestone. It has been rebuilt extensively since then.

Historically, Le Mans, Reims, Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon and the Magny-Cours circuit at Nevers have been used for circuits.

The circuit at Le Castellet was used for 14 races prior to 1990. The Magny-Cours circuit was then used to host races from 1991-2008 but did not host events subsequently "after examining the economic context" according to Grand Prix de France.

Bernie Ecclestone had criticised the infrastructure at Magny-Cours, as well as its isolated geographical position and negotiations to keep F1 racing in France in 2009 and 2010 failed.

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