2009 French Grand Prix cancelled

F1 will not race at Magny-Cours in 2009

F1 will not race at Magny-Cours in 2009

The French Grand Prix has been cancelled for 2009 in a surprise move by the event organisers, the Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile. The FFSA issued the following statement:

After examining the economic situation, the FFSA renounces to be the financial promoters of a Formula One Grand Prix. As a result, and as long as a promoter capable of succeeding the FFSA has not been identified, the French Grand Prix will not be able to feature on the FIA international calendar in 2009.

The news comes just eight days after the Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from the 2009 F1 schedule with no warning.

The 2009 F1 calendar, which originally had 19 events on it, is now reduced to 17.

France has held a round of the F1 world championship every year since the series began in 1950, except in 1955, when it was cancelled following the Le Mans disaster. The first Grand Prix was held in France in 1906.

Bernie Ecclestone threatened to cancel the French Grand Prix this year and reinstated it. He did the same with the 2009 race as well, and it is public knowledge that he is looking for alternative hosts for the race. At least four potential venues have been rumoured.

Is the Magny-Cours round F1’s first victim of the credit crunch? Or is this an inevitable consequence of Bernie Ecclestone pushing race fees ever higher?

2009 F1 season
2009 F1 calendar

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33 comments on 2009 French Grand Prix cancelled

  1. Honestly, I was not really suprised by this news very much- Bernie has been gunning for Magny-Cours to be off the calendar for some time recently, and it suprised me a great deal to even see it on the 2009 schedule even in provisional form.

    Regarding the financial aspect of the financial crisis on F1 and on circuits in particualr, the sanctioning fees demanded by FOM have been a crushing burden on the privately-owned venues for some time now, forcing out Indy, Silverstone, Montreal, and now Magny-Cours in the span of just over a year. This is not a new issue, but one that has been going on for years- we are just seieng it come to fruition in one big bang. Sadly, many other traditonal races may also fall victim to this terirble policy as well- both German venues already lose huge sums of money on the project, and Donnington’s project may indeed be in danger if they don’t have rock-solid financing in place.

    Regarding Canada, I don’t really think that the loss of the French Grand Prix is related to any effort to get Montreal back, but I have thought with 100% confidence over the past few days that the Canadian Government will step in and pay for the GP to come back with money directly from the taxpayers, regardless of the cost. I don’t know if it will work for 2009, but it will happen I believe.

    Sven- you make a very good point, and while I do not know how much the Hungaroring pays, it will always be on the schedule because Bernie wants it to be there. It was a pet project for Bernie to get a GP behind the Iron Curtain in the 80’s, and because he created it, it will always have a place on the schedule- they just got a fat contract extension this season and will always survivie as long as Bernie has power.

  2. What we have here, like the credit crunch itself, is a general failure of common sense.

    I think that French Grand Prix is indeed a victim of the credit crunch, but of course lower fees would mean the event could be held.

    If Paul Ricard was to be considered for a modern Grand Prix it would be mentioned in the same moments as the streets of Paris. Any idea where the money for Streets of Paris was supposed to come from?

    The credit crisis itself is a complete failure of common sense too, it is most easily over-generalized as follows: people that have trusted each other for decades and centuries in some cases now suddenly don’t trust each other at all. As usual, there are no easy answers.

  3. the limit said on 16th October 2008, 3:51

    Not at all surprised by this news, and lets face it, if not for the Donington deal for 2010, Silverstone would have faced the axe too. As mentioned in earlier debates, Ecclestone wants to bring in new venues but no one wants to exceed 18/20 grands prixs a year. Marry that to the running costs for the organisers, with Ecclestone taking his huge cut, and the current climate concerning the credit crunch, it was bound to happen.
    In the United States, NASCAR are having a hard time filling their racetracks with fans, yet the tv audience has skyrocked for the races. The bottom line is, everybody is feeling the pinch.
    My biggest fear is for F1 to lose anymore teams. We would only need two more teams to go the way of Super Aguri, and then we would be in trouble.

  4. i like to agree with chunter on the point of high fees.

    F1 currently rides on a very expensive and senseless fee structure. with this in mind the economic downturn surely has to impact more sooner than we think and with hard hitting effects.

    The F1 administration has been talking about cutting down costs in F1 but they have been focusing more on the teams, this should not be so, i think that the fia should also cut down the fees(considerably) because whats the point of having skyhigh fees when the teams have very low costs??? where does the money go and why when teams have already cut costs.

    lets see what the fia does or the economy is going to help them make the decision.

    unless they want to move all the races to bahrain and saudi arabia………

  5. Since the Canadians are keen to bring their GP back, instead of France they put Canada back.. Simple..

  6. sven duva said on 16th October 2008, 8:24

    The Canadian organizers has stated that there will be no race in Montreal next year no matter what. The decision has been taken, and that’s it.

    It’s weird if they gonna have another 3 week gap in the calendar during the summer. It’s bad for the sport. If this is indeed the crown jewel of motorsport, then organizers should be lining up to get it. But I’m not sure were to put it with only 8 months notice. One solution is to have both Hockenheim and Nurburgring next year. Or maybe have a race in Jerez or – Algarve… :)

  7. Michiel said on 16th October 2008, 9:26

    @sven duva,

    the algarve sounds fine. on the new circuit. then we hava finally a new circuit who isn’t designed by herman Tilke:D

  8. I shan’t miss Magny Cours by any stretch of the imagination. But I shall miss a French GP.

  9. With the French GP being cancelled I think and hope that means the Canadian GP will be brought back now… fingers crossed.

  10. I think It’s that leettle weasall berneee wanting to squeezeout every last frank from zi Franch, and zi franch federation will nout allouw iit.

    that’s a little more chance for portugal i guess

  11. Derek Smith said on 16th October 2008, 14:52

    Not the greatest of losses imo, and maybe this will bring back the Canadian GP which is a great track

  12. I was just reading about the algarve circuit and at short notice it would seem to be a great addition to the grand prix circuit – has anyone thought of the french and germans clubbing together to jointly run one of the 2 german grand prix’s – I know they were enemies once – but it might work out?

  13. Trip Hazard said on 16th October 2008, 18:16

    It’s all gone a bit bonjour

  14. Certainly not the greatest of tracks to watch your Formula 1.Now i hope Canada returns.I dont see Portugal
    hosting a F1 GP till 2010.

  15. beneboy said on 16th October 2008, 19:10

    Won’t miss the track but it’s a shame if there’s to be no French GP from 2009.

    Looks like Bernie’s dream is becoming a reality, give it a few years & we’ll be down to Monaco, Valencia & Hungary as the only European GP’s on the calender freeing up lots of space for Mr Tilke’s Asian & Middle Eastern tracks.

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