Magny-Cours redevelopment plan unveiled

Magny-Cours bosses have unveiled new plans showing their vision a major redevelopment of the circuit.

At the moment, there is uncertainty over whether France will continue to host an F1 race after this season with Bernie Ecclestone saying he does not want Formula One back at Magny-Cours. To counter these comments, track officials have laid out development plans, name ‘Magny-Cours 2 , for the circuit which include new pits, a wider pit-lane and start-finish straight, an better paddock area, as well as improved corporate hospitality and media facilities. The grandstands are also set for an overhaul, and nearby hotels will also be revamped.

“All these changes shape the underlying basis for ‘Magny-Cours 2 , which is no an indispensable element in safeguarding the future,” a statement from race organisers read. “This project is essential not only if Formula 1 racing is to remain in the Nievre and in Bourgogne, but also if France as a country is to remain attractive to Formula One racing.”

Sebastien Bourdais, currently the only French driver in F1, believes that France cannot afford to not host a Grand Prix, even if the absence is just for one season.

“I think there have good negotiations with the French government,” Bourdais explained. “France is a big nation, a big car producer and we need a French Grand Prix – it is as basic as that.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is here or somewhere else. But if we are going to do it somewhere else then we are going to need a bit of time, and it is probably not going to happen overnight.

“Most definitely there is doubt over it for next year, but I personally hope that we will still be here in 2009, because we can’t afford to have a blank year and not come to France – that would drop the interest, so we will see what happens.

“The Le Mans Bugatti circuit is not an F1 track and I don’t think the ACO is very interested. They have a lot of events to put together already and there is really nowhere else where you could run a proper race.

“Paul Ricard is now very atypical and unusable for a F1 Grand Prix so it would have to be a new site and that is why I’m saying you need a bit of time. Because it is a huge undertaking, you need to find the right place, you need to build it and it is going to take some time. They are looking at it very closely and we will see what happens.

“It won’t be Paris. But I think it is probably the best option, but like I said it is still very complex. There are a lot of people involved – it’s a huge amount of money to find to get the project done, so let’s wait and see.”