Debate: Will you miss Magny-Cours?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Mercedes, Magny-Cours, 2007Formula 1 might have seen the last of the Circuit Nevers. Bernie Ecclestone has made it clear that F1 will not return to the isolated venue in the future.

F1 has raced at the track for the past 17 years and has seen precious few great races.

So are you glad to see the back of the track? Or has Magny-Cours been treated unfairly?

The first two French Grands Prix at Magny-Cours in 1991 and 1992 were decent races. Nigel Mansell won both, wresting the lead from Alain Prost in the first. The second was enlivened by the antics of a young Michael Schumacher who crashed twice at the Adelaide hairpin.

The 1999 race was a classic, won by Heinz-Harald Frentzen in pouring rain in a Jordan. Mika Hakkinen put in an inspired performance to race from 14th to second.

The next year David Coulthard put one over rival Schumacher – famously making a not-for-TV gesture at the German on one lap.

But racing action in dry weather has been hard to come by. Yesterday practically the only driver doing any passing was Fernando Alonso.

As F1 cars have become more sensitive to aerodynamic turbulence overtaking moves at the hairpin have become less frequent – because drivers can’t follow closely enough through the proceeding Estoril bend.

Teams, drivers and fans bemoan how isolated Nevers is. The circuit was built by former President Mitterand in the heartland of his support base for reasons of political expediency.

(It was even rumoured that, during its original construction, some of the new buildings were demolished and re-built because a prominent Mitterand supporter hadn’t got his hand in the building contract.)

Are you sad to see Magny-Cours now? Where next for the French Grand Prix – back to the now revitalised Paul Ricard? Or a race in Paris?

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