French backer urges support for grand prix

(GMM) The group behind the abandoned project to stage a formula one race at Disneyland Paris has urged the French prime minister to save the country's grand prix.

With the sport moving away from unpopular Magny Cours, and the Disneyland plans having failed due to lack of backing, the Lagardere Group said PM Francois Fillon should move to ensure France returns to the calendar in 2011.

"There will be no grand prix in 2009, and probably in 2010 as well. If there is still no race in 2011, France could lose its grand prix completely," said a statement by Lagardere, formerly the racing car company Matra, according to the French language La Presse.

The Paris headquartered group therefore said it hoped the French government backs a "decision to build a new formula one circuit".

Lagardere, originally believed to have earmarked about $100m for the Disney project, said two alternate locations – in Flins-sur-Seine (40 minutes from Paris) and Sarcelles (30 minutes from Paris) – are proposing "high quality" projects for future French grands prix.

"This is an issue of jobs for French people, and the image of the country," the statement continued.

"It is not too late, but time is running out," Lagardere said.

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