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?