F1 CEO Domenicali floats idea of French GP in Nice

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has floated the idea that a French GP could be run on a street circuit in Nice amid negotiations over the event's future.

F1 CEO Domenicali floats idea of French GP in Nice

The news not only puts the future of prospects of Paul Ricard retaining the race in doubt, it potentially also gives F1 a bargaining chip in its ongoing negotiations over a new deal for the Monaco GP.

A French GP in Nice would give the sport a high profile new event just a few miles from the principality.

Domenicali referenced the Nice bid in an interview with a journalist from France’s L’Equipe newspaper.

"Historically, France has been an important nation in motorsport,” he said. “You might not know this, but there is an amazing project with Nice, who wants a Grand Prix. It's great, as it proves that other destinations in your country are interested in F1.

“We are going to look at the applications and study them carefully. Other things could come very soon. All I can tell you is, by late July, you will know more about the future of your Grand Prix.”

Along with Belgium, France is one of the races that could be rotated as F1 struggles to fit all the new events on the calendar while retaining a foothold in traditional European markets.

A third US race has been confirmed for Las Vegas in November 2023, while Kyalami looks almost certain to return in April after Domenicali met the South African government earlier this week. China is also expected to return to the schedule with a late season slot.

The French Grand Prix is currently held at Paul Ricard

The French Grand Prix is currently held at Paul Ricard

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"The calendar for next year is being prepared,” he told L’Equipe. “Having 30 GPs wouldn't be reasonable. Our preferred option would be to keep 23 or 24 races.

"And to achieve this, based on the demand, we're going to work with the principle of rotation – not only for Europe but for other countries too.

“I'm back from South Africa, but we are a World Championship and Africa doesn't have a place [on the calendar] at the moment. It needs to change.

"Discussions are making progress and I think we'll have an answer soon. Having a race there while Lewis Hamilton is still racing would be formidable.”

Asked about F1’s controversial ongoing relationship with South Africa he said: "We never contemplated leaving Saudi Arabia [after the attack]. I think it would be a political and sporting mistake. The race was fabulous with this duel between Charles and Max. And I think F1 has got a role to play.

“It can drive change. The Saudi minister of sport will actually communicate in the next few weeks about the progress made and we'll share this information with the teams and drivers. Leaving that country would have increased its isolation. You can't change an ancient culture within a year."

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