OllieF1
No French Grand Prix In 2008?

No French Grand Prix In 2008?

This news has since been confirmed as true by the FFSA.

Pitpass have reported that the French Grand Prix may have been dropped from the 2008 Formula One calendar, following reports made in L’Equipe. Apparently, the FIA have stated that the event cannot take place in current conditions and logistical problems are preventing Mangy Cours from hosting the race. It was recently mooted that Britain and France could share a slot on the racing calendar, which is something Magny Cours seemed keen on. However, BRDC President (the organisation that still owns Silverstone) Damon Hill said that this solution would be a last resort.

As Singapore is expected to announce an agreement to host a round of the Formula One championship as early as 2008, it seems Bernie Ecclestone is slowly moving F1 away from Europe and into new and growing countries. While this may prove effective at lining the deep pockets of the sport’s controlling people, the lack of traditional circuits like Imola, Silverstone, Suzuka and even Spa may be the straw – for many older fans – that breaks the camel’s back.

It is good that Formula One travels to further afield places and is introduced to as wider audience as possible. But I feel this should not come at the price of losing some of the sports great circuits that have thrilled drivers and fans alike for so many years. Personally, I’m still a little bitter that Suzuka is missing from this years calendar, and although the re-introduction of Spa Francorchamp in welcomed, I would not want to lose these great tracks that make the sport what it is. Formula One is hi-tech, forever moving forward and pushing boundaries in terms of technology and driver fitness. But it is also rich in heritage and tradition, and these values should not be lost. Leaving the great tracks behind may just cause that.

Do you think Formula One should move away from it’s historical home of Europe, or should the travelling circus be encouraged to race at these new and glamorous locations?

Of course, if I had my way, I would have my cake and eat it. There would be a race every other weekend for 50 weeks of the year. They would race on every continent (bar Antarctica, maybe) and the old would be mixed in with the new. Have your say in the comments below…

Oliver White

3 comments

  • Formula 1 definitely needs France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Japan, and preferably at their traditional tracks (although I am aware that France doesn’t have one “traditional” track; it has several in various states of (dis)repair). It also needs some of the newer venues. This is because the traditional countries and tracks root F1 in its place and the newer tracks give the ever-changing flavours of unexpected surprises.

    A lot of the new countries only want a GP because of the tourist/promotional value, and F1 is not really organised to allow them to do this properly. Since most press comment occurs when a track either enters or leaves the schedules, it makes sense to do this more often to the tracks that want the press coverage. How about having three slots in the calender for “promotional” races, which will hold a GP for three years at a time and not be allow two adjacent slots? The contracts would be organised so that one “temporary GP” would be changed over each year, adding surprise to every calender year and giving new tracks their much-desired PR without causing undue worry to older tracks that have proven their value? If a “temporary GP” proves its worth as a great circuit, it could always be converted into a permanent GP.

    The other thing that annoys me about the circuits is that they are scheduled rather strangely. Having back-to-back weekends alongside multiple three-week breaks is far from ideal. So how about having one race every two weeks every time? I’d also ban testing unless it was in January or an in-season compulsory session with a proper non-championship(?) race was included in the testing programme each time.

    I’d go for a schedule something like this:

    February – (possibly non-European) test with non-championship race and Suzuka (Japan)

    March – [Temporary GP] and Sepang? (SE Asia)

    April – Interlagos? (South America) and European test with non-championship race

    May – Barcelona? (Spain) and Monaco

    June – [Temporary GP] and Gilles Villnueve (Canada)

    July – Indy? (USA) and Free Time

    August – Silverstone (Britain) and Magny-Couers (France)

    September – Hockenheim? (Germany) and Monza (Italy)

    October – [Temporary GP] and European test with non-championship race

    November – Spa (Belgium) and Melbourne (Australia)

  • Hi Alianora, some great thoughts on the calendar, thank you for posting.

    France had some traditional circuits, but as you say, most have falling into disrepair. Paul Ricard has enjoyed a recent revamp, but I’m not sure it is to the FIA guidelines.

    I like your idea of a ‘Temporary GP’, and I think that was the original idea behind the European Grand Prix before it got stuck in Germany.

    I get why the calendar is in the order that it is. as Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain are relatively close, as is America and Canada. Also, the regions seasonal weather has to come into account a little, although wet races do provide better entertainment at times. But like you say, I to don’t understand the three and four week gaps (aside from the summer break). Especially as the gaps are at the start of the season – it makes no sense whatsoever and new fans tuning in for Australia are likely to go off the boil by Malaysia next weekend.

    Besides, I’ve been sitting here twiddling my thumbs for the past two weeks now!

    Belated birthday wishes for last Tuesday! 😀

  • […] France’s Magny Cours is another that will be dropped from the calendar after their 2008 race, meaning the nation that arguably started motor racing at the turn of the 20th century will be without a grand prix. The only other year where France were not on the championship run was in 1955. Finances and remote location have been blamed for the demise of the race, but of course losing its spot means Bernie’s life is made a little easier when he comes to decide on the 2009 calendar. […]

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