Paul Ricard eyes French GP bid

UPDATE #2 Bernie Ecclestone has warned officials in France that time is fast running out for them to find a new circuit for the French GP.

"That's all I want, but it seems to be hard to put things in place in France," the F1 supremo told the Le Parisien newspaper. "I've sent a contract to them and it hasn't been sent back. At the moment, I'm being told that we shouldn't hope for a circuit in or around Paris before 2013. I've also heard about possibly returning to Paul Ricard. "It's a shame, because it's going to get harder to find a spot on the calendar. They need to act quickly because time is short."

05/29/09 (GMM) French prime minister Francois Fillon has vowed the government's support in reinstating the country's formula one race.

After the demise of the Magny Cours event, and also the alternative Disneyland Paris project, Alain Prost said last week that the latest Flins-Les-Mureaux foray had also hit "political problems".

"I cannot believe that we do not have a grand prix of France," prime minister Francois Fillon, born in Le Mans and a keen motor racing enthusiast, told Europe 1 radio.

He promises that the "government will do everything so that there is a (GP) as quickly as possible", for example in 2010 or 2011.

Paul Ricard's last turn leading onto the pit straight

05/22/09 (GMM) Paul Ricard, owned by a company associated with Bernie Ecclestone, has emerged as a possible host of a French grand prix.

After the loss of the Magny Cours event, and problems with potential alternatives around Paris, Circuit Paul Ricard director Gerard Neveu said the venue has "decided to think seriously" about bidding for the race.

One of the prior obstacles to the concept of a grand prix at Paul Ricard was, following the renovation into a state of the art test circuit, the complete lack of spectator grandstands.

However, spectator facilities have now been built, and Neveu said: "We started to think on what we would need to do to welcome a grand prix."

The track is also already homologated by the FIA, and the necessary top 'Grade 1' classification was renewed after a visit by Charlie Whiting last week.

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