Four years ago, when the future of the defaulting French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours was under review (yes, it is a long-running saga), rumours surfaced that Bernie Ecclestone was planning to take Formula One to the rebuilt Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track circuit he owned.
HTTT had been rebuilt totally under the guidance of Philippe Gurdjian, Ecclestone's Mr Fix-it and a highly creative manager who was once promoter of the French Grand Prix.
As the full name of the facility circuit situated near Marseilles implies, Paul Ricard now exists purely as a proving ground, not a race track, and features not a single grandstand for the paying public. Sceptics had a field day, for no grand prix can pay its way without gate money - which covers the rights fees paid to Formula One Management - and therefore the suggestion was dead in the water.
In any event, said the critics, the area did not have sufficient hotel rooms, whilst the narrow sinuous access roads leading to the showcase circuit were certainly never designed to cater for 21st Century grand prix crowds.