Possible GP 'for VIP only' at Ricard
|By Jonathan Noble||Saturday, May 13th 2006, 09:19 GMT|
Paul Ricard CEO Philippe Gurdjian has hinted at the possibility of a spectator-less Formula One race taking place at his circuit, amid speculation that the track could be part of plans for a Mediterranean Grand Prix.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is understood to be considering the creation of a Mediterranean GP, which would be rotated between a number of circuits, starting with Valencia in 2008 and then possibly Paul Ricard the year after. Greece has also been linked with the idea.
Valencia has made no secret of the fact that it wants a race once its facilities and layout have been revamped, while Paul Ricard is already ready to hold a Grand Prix thanks to the major circuit upgrade that took place following Ecclestone's purchase of the track.
Speaking to autosport.com, Gurdjian said that the call about a race taking race at Paul Ricard would depend on Ecclestone - but said that he was open to the suggestion.
"Everything is possible, but Bernie will have the final decision," he said. "It is the perfect place to host a Formula One Grand Prix - and it would only take a few minutes to get the track ready. So why not?"
Paul Ricard's current use as a specific test track means that there are no grandstands and little spectator facilities, and Gurdjian has said that there would be no plans to enhance facilities on this front for the race.
The track is already hosting a FIA GT race in August where there are expected to be only 3,000 VIP guests.
"We would be happy with just the Paddock Club (corporate hospitality) guests, the media and television coverage," explained Gurdijan.
"It is possible to make a Grand Prix without spectators. It would be a race for VIPs."