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F1 NEWS 

Ecclestone agrees to keep French GP

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has agreed to keep the French Grand Prix on the calendar next year at Magny-Cours.

The Magny-Cours circuit, in the heart of rural France, has suffered from weak attendances in the past, and its future looked even darker when Ecclestone assured the race would not be back in the calendar.

"There is no future for Magny-Cours, 2007 will be the last race at this circuit," Ecclestone said recently. "We should not have gone there in the first place. And we only did so because of former FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre."

The French motorsport federation, the FFSA, said last week they were still determined to fulfil their current contract with Ecclestone, running out in 2011. The FFSA said that they were looking at alternative venues for the race.

However, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon met with Ecclestone on Tuesday and the Briton agreed, in principle, to keep the race at Magny-Cours next year.

"He (Ecclestone) agreed in principle to maintain the race at Magny-Cours in 2008, and even 2009, if there were no other alternative," a spokesman for Fillon told Reuters.

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