F1

French GP suspended from 2008 calendar

French GP suspended from 2008 calendar

Every year there seems to be a race under threat and the French Motor Sporting Federation (FFSA) has confirmed recent speculation that the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours may not be on the 2008 calendar. The FFSA released a statement saying...

Every year there seems to be a race under threat and the French Motor Sporting Federation (FFSA) has confirmed recent speculation that the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours may not be on the 2008 calendar. The FFSA released a statement saying that a Committee meeting had agreed to suspend next year's race.

The start-finish straight at Magny Cours.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"Following the various articles that have appeared recently on the French Formula 1 Grand Prix, the French Motor Sporting Federation (FFSA), the organiser and promoter of the event, would like to make it clear that its Committee, which met on 21st March 2007, has unanimously decided to suspend the inscription of the French Grand Prix on the 2008 calendar as all the conditions necessary for success were not met," it read.

It's not clear exactly what the bones of contention are but the Magny Cours circuit, which has hosted the GP for over 15 years, has a rural location and often attracts complaints of less than adequate access. Lack of accommodation and low attendance figures have also been quoted as problems. It's not the most glamorous of locations to attract ticket-buyers.

It's possible the French GP could move to a different circuit, although where is under debate. Paul Ricard originally hosted the event before Magny Cours took over in the early ninties, and reportedly Bernie Ecclestone wants a Paris Grand Prix. There has been talk of developing new tracks near Paris but nothing has been confirmed.

Ecclestone previously suggested that the British GP at Silverstone, which seems to be permanently under threat, and France should share a date on alternating years but Silverstone rejected the proposal. If France is not on the 2008 calendar it will be the first time it has been absent since the Fifties.

However, Magny Cours is not yet out of the picture. The FFSA is due to meet again in July and will "re-examine the situation". The statement concluded that this year's race was the focus at the moment. "The first priority is that the 2007 French Grand Prix should take place in the best possible conditions on 1st July 2007 on the Nevers Magny-Cours circuit, where a well-filled programme awaits the spectators."

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