French GP still struggling

The beleaguered French Grand Prix is facing another problem after the regional authority of Burgundy rejected a financial package aimed at helping stage the race. The French Motorsport Association (FFSA) had released a statement saying the financial backing had been acquired, which was part of the conditions decided by the World Motor Sport Council recently. But it seems that backing may not materialize.

Early race action.
Photo by LAT Photographic.
"The FFSA has today signed and sent to the Formula One Management (FOM) the contract for the organization of the French Grand Prix in 2004 including the financial guarantees stipulated," was the statement on December 19th.

?2 million was the sum hoped for, as part of a ?7 million-rescue bid by the local authority and private sponsors, but the local council voted against it last week.

"In refusing the budget for 2004, the leftwing and the National Front together have rejected the plan to ensure the French Grand Prix," said opposition politician Jean-Pierre Soisson. "It is a bad blow for Magny-Cours and for Burgundy."

The conditions for the inclusion of the French Grand Prix on the 2004 calendar were that a contract had to be in place between the French motor racing authority and FOM, and all the teams had to agree to the event going ahead. The deadline for the conditions to be met is December 31st 2003.