French GP axed?

First it was Canada, then Brazil and now it seems the French Grand Prix could disappear from the 2004 calendar. The Magny Cours race, 11 July, was provisional on the schedule due to contract agreements but according to a report in the Journal du...

First it was Canada, then Brazil and now it seems the French Grand Prix could disappear from the 2004 calendar. The Magny Cours race, 11 July, was provisional on the schedule due to contract agreements but according to a report in the Journal du Centre newspaper, financial problems mean the event will not go ahead.

"It is not possible to give Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone the guarantees he requires for the finance of the race in 2004," said Marcel Charmant, president of the Nievre regional authority, which is a shareholder in the ownership of the Magny Cours circuit.

The track has hosted the French GP since 1991 and the local area council has reportedly met to see if a solution could be found but it seems the race will be withdrawn. This could mean the British Grand Prix may move from its early July date back to its more traditional 11th July spot.

The French auto sport federation said its president Jacques Regis will hold a press conference on Wednesday in regard to the situation. French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour believes the cancelling of the race is premature and he intends to appeal to the FIA.

For some time it has been speculated that the French GP could move from Magny Cours back to Paul Ricard, which hosted the race in the seventies and eighties. After the death of Paul Ricard the circuit was bought by none other than Bernie Ecclestone in 1999 and is currently being used as a high-tech test facility. Le Mans is also a possible alternative.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone