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Formula 1. French Grand Prix destined to disappear? . Sport

“This year is potentially the last […] Therefore, it is important to use every second. Nearly retired Pierre Gasly announced the color on Thursday at a press conference for the Formula 1 French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

At Circuit Paul Ricard, the weekend was marked in part by questions about the future of the French round, and the contract signed between the circuit and the F1 executives expired on Sunday.

Despite the efforts of the organizers (3-star FIA environmental certification, traffic plan, numerous events) and the success of the event (200,000 tickets sold in three days), Liberty Media, the owner of the championship, is indeed considering abandoning it. France, as well as other historical destinations (Monaco, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium) to invest in other attractive markets – Las Vegas on the calendar from 2023, South Africa (Kyalami) and China (Shanghai) are planned, which are more in line with Formula 1, as he sees her.

Non-strategic direction for F1

Le Castellet has several drawbacks: the difficulty of access, the cost of living and on-site facilities, according to the teams, as well as, to a certain extent, its geographical proximity to Monaco. “The people we invite to Le Castellet are the same people we invite to Monaco,” the team member says, referring to the influence of the sponsors she represents.

READ ALSO. F1. French Grand Prix: the misfortune of Charles Leclerc, the happiness of Max Verstappen

France, while banning the promotion of crypto-currency brands, online betting, or even alcoholic beverages, is also at odds with some teams that see it as a disadvantage.

To choose, the pilots refuse Paul Ricard

Among riders, if the atmosphere created by the French public has been repeatedly praised – Lewis Hamilton called on Sunday “the biggest crowd I think we’ve had here” – others are more indifferent.

“Honestly, this track is not that exciting, I don’t think many riders are big fans,” commented Sebastian Vettel in particular, while admitting that “the crowd was a good surprise.”

And now ?

Today, if some stakeholders claim that they have not yet decided on the fate of the French Grand Prix, others say that the country is already excluded from the 2023 calendar.

“The President (Stefano Domenicali) of the FOM (owner of commercial rights to F1) has made it clear that France deserves to be present,” recalled Eric Boullier, director of the French Grand Prix, for his part, assuring that “we are not dead, we are discussing.”

The idea of ​​an urban Grand Prix in Nice, said time, was finally ruled out this weekend by Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice and President of the French Grand Prix of the public interest group. He confirmed his desire to negotiate the preservation of the French event in Paul Ricard and announced that he had asked the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, to support the French dossier.

The compromise that seems to be taking shape will be to alternate several endangered directions for as many years as there are suitors. In addition to Belgium, Germany could be included, whose manufacturers Audi and Porsche are considering a return to F1.

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