French GP facing 2004 axe

The French Grand Prix could be on the verge of losing its date on the 2004 calendar, according to AUTOSPORT's sister magazine F1 Racing.

French GP facing 2004 axe

The December issue reports that the Magny-Cours track still owes $10 million in unpaid fees owed to the companies of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. If it does not pay up before the World Motorsports Council meeting on December 12 the race may be scratched from the schedule.

The race was included on the 2004 calendar when the World Council last met in October, but was only listed as provisional. The July 11 date was published "subject to conclusion of a contract."

Race promoter Roland Hodel is currently locked in talks with senior representatives from the French government and Renault (which is partly state-owned), in a last-ditch attempt to save the race.



F1 Racing claims that the threats that almost led to the Canadian Grand Prix's cancellation could also have been intended to act as a wake-up call to the French organizers.

The Magny-Cours circuit has been home to the French Grand Prix since 1991, but there have been persistent rumours that it could return to Paul Ricard, which is now owned by Ecclestone. Ricard is currently used as a test facility only.

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