The FIA have confirmed 21 Grand Prix for next season's Formula One World Championship, including a return of the popular French and German events. Agreed and approved during the latest FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Geneva, the 2018 calendar will once again see the number of Grand Prix rise to 21 during the course of the season, and includes a welcome return to the fold of the French Grand Prix, to be held at the heavily redeveloped Circuit Paul Ricard as the race returns to Formula One for the first time in a decade following the decline of the popular but sparsely attended French Grand Prix at Magny Cours. “We are proud to confirm that the German and French Grands Prix will take place in 2018. France was one of the seven races that made up the first ever World Championship in 1950 and it now returns after a decade. It will be held at the Paul Ricard circuit, which last hosted a round of the F1 Championship in 1990" Said Formula One Chairman and CEO Chase Carey. Jean Todt, President of the FIA commented: “Alongside our partners in Formula 1 and across the FIA’s major championships we have been working hard in recent months to achieve greater harmony among the various sporting calendars and reaching an early agreement on the 2018 Formula 1 schedule is part of this ongoing process. “The FIA would also like to welcome back the French and German Grands Prix to the calendar, as both have a long and rich tradition in the sport.” he added. “In that regard the FIA is particularly pleased that Formula One will once again return to France, the historic home of Grand Prix racing, and to the Circuit Paul Ricard, which last hosted the event in 1990.” The agreement of the calendar for next season has come at a much earlier date that in usual in Formula One this year, signifying yet another impact of the new ownership and management structure within Grand Prix racing since the departure of Bernie Ecclestone from the top of the commercial food chain. What is more, it appears from a statement by the new owners of Formula One that several other countries have expressed a serious interest in hosting a race in the near future, making the possibility of a race schedule reaching and suppassing the 25 Grand Prix in a season mark ever closer in years to come. “The number of races has increased by one compared to the current season" said Carey. "We received numerous requests from those wishing to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix but we wanted the existing promoters to feel that we are putting all our efforts into ensuring that each race is a special event, so that the fans, our most important stakeholders, can enjoy a unique and unforgettable experience. If we can do that, then the entire Formula 1 family will reap the benefit.” Of the 21 events scheduled for next season, eleven will take place in the traditional European heartland of Formula One, with a further five in Asia, four in the Americas and one in Australia. It is no secret amongst the Grand Prix community that Formula One wish to extent their presence in the United States, with several attempts to launch Grand Prix having either failed to materialise, or in the case of Indianapolis having failed to gel with the American public and then quickly finding itself as a footnote in the history of the sport. Carey and co have shown a willingness to adopt new and bold strategies in their management of the sport so far, and looking to further increase the number of races held in a single season is something that is actively being considered within the corridors of power inside the sport. With more races comes more expenditure and a need for greater man power amongst the current field of teams, which in a climate where budget control and spend management are at a premium appears on the surface to fly in the face of the current thinking of the sports power brokers. However if Liberty Media can leverage the additional revenue to help provide a larger piece of the financial pie for the teams within the Formula One family, a move to expand the calendar from its current 20 race schedule might help provide a much needed financial boost as well as bringing the sport to yet more fans around the world. Sometimes in life less is more, and an over exposure of the sport could have a negative impact on the prestige of what is widely considered to be the pinnacle of motorsports throughout the world, only time will tell. 2018 Formula One Grand Prix Calendar 25 March - Melbourne, Australia 8 April - Shanghai, China 15 April - Sakhir, Bahrain 29 April - Baku, Azerbaijan 13 May - Barcelona, Spain 27 May - Monaco, Monaco 10 June - Montreal, Canada 24 June - Le Castellet, France 1 July - Spielberg, Austria 8 July - Silverstone, Great Britain 22 July - Hockenheim, Germany 29 July - Budapest, Hungary 26 August - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium 2 September - Monza, Italy 16 September - Singapore, Singapore 30 September - Sochi, Russia 7 October - Suzuka, Japan 21 October - Austin, USA 28 October - Mexico City, Mexico 11 November - Sao Paulo, Brazil 25 November - Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi The Formula One sub forum here at RaceDepartment is the place to go for all the latest news and discussions regarding the world of Grand Prix racing. Head over today and get yourself involved in the action with our RaceDepartment community! Happy with the new calendar? Pleased to see more European events added? Which tracks would you like to see added to the schedule in future years? Let us know in the comments section below!