French GP may not return until 2011

UPDATE #2 Public documents which have come to light in France give more details of the plans to build a Formula 1 circuit in the Seine Valley. The project at Flins, close to one of the major Renault factories, has the support of Prime Minister Francois Fillon. Tenders for the design and construction have been requested and a decision is due to be made in March or April next year. Construction is planned to begin in April 2010 and the circuit should be finished in March 2011, in time for a Grand Prix later that summer.

The plan is for a 235-acre site between the Seine river and the main Paris-Le Havre railway line. At the moment this is farmland but the property, called La Ferme La Haye, has been acquired by the authorities. The site is located 28 miles to the west of Paris and is within half a mile of the main A13 motorway from Paris to Rouen. The SNCF is rumored to be studying the possibilities of putting a new station next to the race track. The journey at the moment from the nearby station at Les Mureaux to the Gare St Lazare in Paris is 37 minutes, but this would be reduced if trains did not stop en route. The project is the brainchild of Pierre Bedier, the president of the Conseil General of the Yvelines department, who believes that a circuit will create jobs and economic growth in the area.

There is opposition from the communes on the northern side of the river where the town of Mezy would be affected by the noise of an F1 circuit and would not gain any advantage as it is inaccessible from the southern side of the Seine. The authorities say that any new circuit would have to have a high ecological standards.

11/23/08 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed reports that France is likely to be missing from at least the next two formula one calendars.

The F1 chief executive was responding to news that the prospective Disneyland Paris project pulled out for financial reasons.

Asked by the French daily L'Equipe if it means France will therefore be missing from the calendar both next year and in 2010, the 78-year-old billionaire answered: "I think it is quite sure.

"We went to Magny Cours for the wrong reasons, for political reasons. Let's try and avoid a repeat. What we want for sure is to find the right spot because the French grand prix has to be long lasting."

Ecclestone said he would now look into two alternate locations near Paris, including Sarcelles, a commune in the capital's northern suburbs, and also Flins-fur-Seine, in the north west.

"The first thing now is that I want to go there and see for myself how it looks," he said.

France's motor racing federation the FFSA said last month that Disneyland Paris was among five "serious" alternatives for the grand prix.

11/22/08 Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes it is imperative that the right venue is found before the French Grand Prix can return to the calendar. The French Grand Prix was removed from the 2009 Formula 1 calendar after the French Motorsports Federation (FFSA) announced that it would stop financing the event and Ecclestone has warned that it could be 2011 before the race is staged again. Euro Disney and Lagardere Sports had planned to bring the race to the outskirts of Paris but earlier this week they abandoned the project after concluding that it was not in their best interests economically.

"I've always thought it was the right spot for us, that it was the new location that suited the French Grand Prix," Ecclestone is quoted as saying in French daily L'Equipe. "I think it is quite sure (that there will be no race in 2010). We went to Magny-Cours for the wrong reasons, for political reasons

"Let's try and avoid a repeat. What we want is to find for sure the right spot because the French GP has to be long-lasting."

Ecclestone has plans to visit two other possible venues – in Sarcelles and Flins – before any decision is made on the future of the French race. "The first thing now is that I want to go there myself and see by myself how it looks like," he added. Setanta Sports

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :