New French sports minister Valerie Fourneyron declared on Tuesday “no formal agreement” exists that will see the country host a grand prix next year.
Before former president Nicolas Sarcozy lost the recent general election, Bernie Ecclestone was confirming that Paul Ricard would annually alternate an F1 race with Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps. Everything changed, however, when new president Francois Hollande appointed Fourneyron as sports minister. She met with a Paul Ricard delegation on Tuesday, and will reportedly meet with representatives of the former grand prix host Magny Cours on Friday.
She said on Tuesday: “There is still much to do regarding the feasibility” of a French grand prix.
“I knew that this issue had been a little rushed in the election period, so I wanted to meet with everyone involved,” Fourneyron told Tuesday’s L’Equipe sports daily.
The Paul Ricard delegation, including the mayor of Le Castellet, admitted their concern after the meeting with Fourneyron.
“The delegation is not convinced of the new government’s desire to maintain the commitments of the state to organise a grand prix de France at Paul Ricard,” a spokesman said. “The new sports minister said she did not believe the financial estimates and that the communities had not been well informed of the reality of the state of negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone.”