F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said he would welcome the return of the French Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar.
We reported earlier this month that Magny Cours – the circuit that had hosted the race between 1991 and 2006 – was increasing its efforts to return to the calendar in time for the 2012 season, and had improved grandstand seating, pit lane and paddock facilities.
The venue was set up in a deal between former FISA President Jean-Marie Balestre and then-French President Mitterand, but the venue’s remote rural location was never a hit with drivers or fans. Ecclestone was neither a fan of the venue, and has lately been pushing for a Grand Prix hosted on a Paris street circuit.
Ecclestone also owns the Paul Ricard circuit, near Marseille, which he describes as “probably one of the best in the world”.
Speaking with French newspaper L’Equipe, he added: “But we still don’t have a place for a race. You know the problem.
And it would seem that Bernie doesn’t want to shoulder the responsibility of being a French Grand Prix promoter, on top of his role of Turkish Grand Prix promoter, which he recently acquired when he took over the rights to Istanbul’s Grand Prix circuit.
“The [French] grand prix has a future, but where is the promoter? I really thought the project near Paris would happen,” he added.
But Bernie is still very much open to someone else shouldering the responsibility of getting the event up and running, with France hosting the very first ‘Grand Prix’ in 1906.
“I am ready to sign a contract as soon as possible, the very moment someone comes to me and says ‘I have the money and a circuit’,” he said. “I would be happy to have a race in France.”
[Original image via The Cahier Archive]