The French government has established a taskforce with the goal of resurrecting the French Grand Prix, possibly at the Paul Ricard circuit.
Led by the country’s Prime Minister, François Fillon, the group also includes Paul Ricard circuit director Gerard Neveu, as well as ex-cabinet minister Gilles Dufeigneaux and Renault team boss Eric Boullier.
The make-up of the group suggests that the Le Castellet circuit – which played host to Formula 1 between 1971 and 1990 – would be the most likely venue for the race to be returned to the Formula 1 calendar.
Between 1991 and 2008, the French Grand Prix was held at the Circuit de Nevers at Magny Cours before it was dropped from the calendar after a funding shortfall. The Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile (FFSA) had acted as the race’s promoter from 2004 after the loss of the race’s previous promoter, but continued losses in the millions made it impossible to continue running the event.
With the Paul Ricard connection doing the rounds, there are suggestions that it could stage a Formula 1 Grand Prix as soon as 2013, assuming of course that a promoter could agree to terms with Formula One Management to stage a Grand Prix.
Between now and then, numerous plans have been made – and then collapsed – to bring back the race at a host of different venues.
Previous rumours had suggested that the reinstatement of the race could be on a bi-annual basis, with the race alternating with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, a proposal that Prime Minister Fillon confirmed is being mooted as a possible scenario.