F1

French GP still undecided

The deadline for the French Grand Prix was 31st December 2003 but it seems there has been no conclusion in regard to the future of the race. To be included in the 2004 calendar, the Magny Cours event had to have an agreement in place with...

The deadline for the French Grand Prix was 31st December 2003 but it seems there has been no conclusion in regard to the future of the race. To be included in the 2004 calendar, the Magny Cours event had to have an agreement in place with Formula One Management (FOM) and also have the unanimous agreement of the teams but there has been no official statement to say if the conditions have been met.

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart thinks negotiations are still open: "I don't anticipate that the deadline was one that was rigidly imposed," he said. "There's been no vote, nothing at all. But that's not the be-all and end-all. Don't read too much into it. There's a team bosses meeting planned for mid-January and I'm sure it will come out there."

France initially withdrew from the 2004 calendar due to lack of funding to host the race. It has become something of a saga in recent weeks as to whether the GP will be on the schedule for this year. Financial back-up from sponsors seemed to have saved the race but more recently the Burgundy regional government rejected a cash appeal.

The French Motorsport Association (FFSA) claimed just before Christmas that a contract had been signed for the race to go ahead but it's yet to be confirmed if this is the case. 18 races have been scheduled for 2004 but speculation has it that some teams are balking at the extension to the calendar.

Brazil was another race that was under threat due to financial considerations but it appears to have overcome the difficulties. The French GP is still provisional on the calendar, awaiting confirmation that the terms have been met.

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