Bernie Ecclestone has reiterated his desire to see the 2009 French Grand Prix held in Paris instead of its current venue Magny-Cours:
We agreed that there would be a French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in 2008 but not in 2009. Prime Minister Francois Fillon told me we would then see if we could have a Grand Prix in Paris or just outside but that would not necessarily be for 2009, rather for 2010. In any case, 2008 will be the last time we continue like this.
That raises the prospect of there being no French Grand Prix in 2009, even though Magny-Cours’ current contract is supposed to include a race there next year.
Earlier this year Ecclestone revealed he was trying to arrange a Paris Grand Prix for 2009. There’s been no notable public response from anyone interested in hosting the race and F1’s only French team Renault (the chassis department for which is based in Britain, the engine department in Viry-Ch?Ô?ˇtillon on the outskirts of Paris) are not exactly giving the plan any vocal enthusiastic support.
It’s possible that anyone who might be interested in setting up a new street race in France might be waiting to see how smoothly the Grand Prix at Valencia goes in September. The European Union has expressed reservations about the new European Grand Prix’s organisation.
Ecclestone made exactly the same threat last year but relented and agreed to keep Magny-Cours on the calendar for 2008. France held the first recognised Grand Prix in 1906 and since the world championship began in 1950 only failed to hold a race in 1955, when its Grand Prix was cancelled in the wake of that year’s Le Mans disaster that killed over 80 people.
Dropping it from the calendar for a single year, when the contract is already in place and half the teams are based only a Channel crossing away from the circuit seems the very definition of cutting your nose to spite your face. But, as American Formula 1 fans know well, that’s not a concept Ecclestone understands.
More on the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours