French GP could become a street race
By Mat Coch
Sunday 19th June, 2022 - 5:02am
While the position of the French Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar remains unclear, the sport’s CEO have hinted at a new solution.
Stefano Domenicali has suggested the event could move from its existing venue, at Paul Ricard, to the streets of Nice.
Speaking with L’Equipe, the F1 boss revealed a project in the French Riviera city, just across the border from Monaco, it hoping to lure the event away from its current location.
“Historically, France has been an important nation in motorsport,” Domenicali said.
“You might not know this, but there is an amazing project with Nice, who wants a grand prix.
“It’s great, as it proves that other destinations in the country are interested in F1.
“We are going to look at the applications and study them carefully. Other things could come very soon.
“All I can tell you is, by late July, you will know more about the future of your grand prix.”
While work is underway on formatting what is predicted to be a busy 2023 calendar, there is currently no deal in place for a French GP.
Last weekend’s confirmation of a new deal with organisers in Melbourne revealed that the Australian Grand Prix will be no later than round three – though unlikely to be the season opener.
It’s also expected to be paired with another event within the region, with China most likely though some suggestions Malaysia could return, though that seems unlikely.
F1 will also return to the Las Vegas late in the season, while Qatar will also join the programme after its cameo in place of Australia in 2021.
Given the new events that have been confirmed, and the signing of a number of long term deals with existing promoters, competition is hotting-up for the remaining slots.
“The calendar for next year is being prepared,” Domenicali explained.
“Having 30 GPs wouldn’t be reasonable. Our preferred option would be to keep 23 or 24 races.
“And to achieve this, based on the demand, we’re going to work with the principle of rotation – not only for Europe but for other countries too.”
With Monaco under pressure to retain its spot, and the proximity of Nice, it’s not unreasonable to suggest perhaps the events could alternate in years to come.
Alfa Romeo Sauber boss, Ferderik Vasseur, has a similar opinion.
“I know that Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, is a big, big fan of motorsport, and he’s trying to find the best solution to keep the grand prix in his own region,” the Frenchman explained.
“But would be perhaps strange to have to street circuits, one in Nice, one in Monaco.
“Fut now, for sure they’re like hell to keep the French Grand Prix in the south of France.”
Should the event move to a street circuit, it would mark something of a return to the event’s roots, as it began life as an open road race in its formative years.
Through the 1950s and into the 1950s, the Reims-Gueux venue hosted the event, Jack Brabham twice winning around the triangular circuit.
Since then, the race has been held at a number of venues, including Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand, Paul Ricard, Le Mans, Dijon, and Magny-Cours.
The French GP only returned to the F1 calendar in 2018, having been absent since Felipe Massa won the 2008 encounter.