Government pushing for a temporary venue
If local elected officials had their way, the Magny-Cours circuit would again host the French Grand Prix – at least until the country decides on a long-term location for its national round of the Formula One World Championship.
is what the representatives of the Burgundy region proposed to French Prime Minister François Fillon on Friday after he called for the race to be organised on a provisional circuit, AFP reported.
The Magny-Cours venue, which hosted the French Grand Prix from 1991 to 2008, is better adapted "than any other provisional solution, which would necessarily be costlier and harder to put in place" according to the region's officials.
They also pointed out that returning to the site would in no way jeopardize renovations aiming at modernizing the track and its infrastructures in view of supporting a bid to re-establish Magny-Cours as the home of the French GP.
Fillon had previously indicated that the French government was doing everything it could in order for the country to reappear on the Formula One calendar as soon as possible, even if it meant presenting the race at a temporary location while a new site is selected and built.
"We are looking at circuits. Do we have to build a new one? Probably. That will undoubtedly take time.
In the meantime, should the Grand Prix take place on an existing circuit? That's what we are discussing," explained Fillon, a racing enthusiast.
The French Prime Minister considered the compromise necessary, given that a brand new site would surely not be ready before 2012: "We cannot accept that there be no Grand Prix before 2012."
"France invented automobile competition," Fillon declared. "The first Formula One Grand Prix was held in France."
Apart from a modernized Magny-Cours renewal bid, sites are being considered at Flins-Les Mureaux and Val-de-France. However, the Flins project is facing opposition from environmental groups, and there are differing views within the French government as well.
The Paul-Ricard circuit, where F1 teams frequently held test sessions, is also seriously considering its candidacy.