Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that Magny-Cours will be making it’s last appearance as host of a Formula 1 race this season. However, the French Grand Prix may not yet be dead, with suggestions that a new venue could be built in Paris.
Talking to French newspaper L’Equipe, Ecclestone was asked whether F1 would leave Magny-Cours after 2007. “Yes,” he replied. “It’s a little bit disappointing because we organised this grand prix and it has never developed in the way we would have liked to.”
Up until 1991, Paul Ricard was used as the venue for the French Grand Prix, before Magny-Cours took over. Over the years, the track has attracted a lot of criticism for it’s isloated location, lack of facilities and lack of atmosphere. The French Motorsport Federation the FFSA had already announced that the 2008 Magny-Cours race had been ‘suspended’ as ‘not all the conditions necessary for success were met’.
Ecclestone, who has been pushing for more Formula 1 races in Asia and the Middle East, is still keen to have a French Grand Prix, albeit in a more glamourous setting. “That’s why I would like to see something in Paris,” Ecclestone explained. “A beautiful track on the roads of Paris, going up the Champs-Elysees, going around the corner there – you can always dream, can’t you? I’m trying to turn dreams into reality!”
Recent rumours have placed a new circuit at either the Charles de Gaulle airport or the Disneyland Paris resort. Ecclestone himself feels Disneyland may fit the bill.
“Why not Disneyland?” he asked. “It has hotels, you can get there by train – it would be ideal.”
It is unlikely that we will see a French Grand Prix in 2008 as no work has begun on an alternative venue, however 2009 may be a possibility. With the exception of 1955, it will be the first year since the championship began that the French Grand Prix has been missing from the calendar.