French GP in doubt for next year

The French Grand Prix could be absent from the Formula One calendar next year for the first time since 1955, the French motor sport federation said on Thursday

French GP in doubt for next year

"The Executive Committee has decided to suspend the inscription of the French Grand Prix on the 2008 calendar as the conditions of a successful event are not guaranteed," the FFSA said in a statement.

It left the door open for a possible reprieve later in the year, however, by adding: "The Executive Committee will re-examine the situation during its next session in July 2007."

Should the race not take place in 2008, organisers hope it would return to the calendar the following year, although not necessarily at the Magny-Cours circuit.

Poor access to the circuit, located near Nevers in the heart of rural France, weak attendances and insufficient accommodation were among the reasons for the move.

Magny-Cours has hosted the French Grand Prix since 1991, when it took over from the southern Le Castellet circuit, but the venue has been financially troubled for some years.

Lacking glamour and unpopular with teams and sponsors, the Magny-Cours round was nearly scrapped in 2004 - securing its place only after a late scramble for funding - and appeared on the initial 2005 calendar with an asterisk due to the lack of a contract.

France, the birthplace of motor racing with the first recognised Grand Prix held near Le Mans in 1906, ranks with Italy, Britain, Belgium and Monaco as one of the sport's traditional venues.

Only Britain and Italy have been on the calendar in every year since the championship started in 1950. There was no French race in 1955 because of a tragedy at that year's Le Mans 24 Hours race that killed at least 80 spectators.

With only 17 Grands Prix in this year's championship, the decision, if confirmed, would leave space for new races next year as well as the likelihood of the French race moving closer to Paris.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is keen on bringing the sport closer to major urban centres with far greater potential crowds.

"For me a Paris GP has been a dream dating back several years," he recently told France's Auto-Hebdo magazine.

Some media reports have talked about the possibility of the race moving to a circuit at Disneyland Paris or another location to be developed near Charles de Gaulle airport to the north of the capital.

Ecclestone suggested last year that Britain and France alternate their races. The FFSA agreed with the suggestion but it was rejected by Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC).

Silverstone's future beyond 2009 remains uncertain, with the central English circuit needing considerable investment to bring the ageing facilities up to the standards of more modern venues elsewhere.

Ecclestone has confirmed an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for 2009, with South Korea coming in 2010. He is also in talks with Singapore for a night race on a street circuit, possibly as early as next year.

The Spanish city of Valencia is also hoping to host a street race while Suzuka, dropped from this year's calendar in favour of Fuji, hopes to return as a second Japanese round.

shares
comments
Heidfeld: Ferrari continue to dominate
Previous article

Heidfeld: Ferrari continue to dominate

Next article

Davidson not concerned about back issues

Davidson not concerned about back issues
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Plus

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. MARK GALLAGHER ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022