Magny Cours still keen on French GP return

Aerial view of Magny Cours

Aerial view of Magny Cours

Talks to take Formula 1 back to France are still ongoing, according to Magny Cours chief Serge Saulnier.

Last month, Saulnier said: “If the will of a number of people is confirmed in the coming weeks, we are very close [to returning].”

He said Magny Cours, located a remote 250 kilometres from Paris and absent from the calendar since 2008, is heading for a comeback race in 2015.

But when Formula 1 Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone was asked at the Monaco Grand Prix about those French reports, he said: “No.

“They’ll knock at the door but I don’t think we can do anything,” he told Reuters.

But when asked this week if Magny Cours is still trying to bring Formula 1 back, track boss Saulnier said: “Yes, we’re trying.

“We are discussing with FOM (Formula 1 Management) about the guarantees that we have to give,” he told the Spanish-language MotorpasionFormula 1.

Magny Cours’ efforts might be thwarted due to the fact that Ecclestone owns the company, Excelis, that owns another French Grand Prix candidate, Paul Ricard.

When asked about Paul Ricard, Saulnier said Magny Cours is the better option “because we have a greater capacity to accommodate the public”.

But Saulnier said the biggest issue is that “Formula 1 is politically incorrect in France, among both politicians and the people”.

He insists, however, that Formula 1 needs France. “Yes,” said Saulnier, “France is a market of 65 million people, which is very important for television.”

Another potential European venue for the ever-expanding Formula 1 calendar is the Ferrari-owned Mugello, located near Florence.

“At the Autodromo del Mugello I am lucky to have a person of quality, Paolo Poli,” Omnicorse quotes Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo as saying earlier this week.

“He runs the most beautiful circuit in Italy where, in addition to having MotoGP, maybe soon there will be even Formula 1, perhaps by asking the president of the region for some help and some more modern infrastructure,” he added. (GMM)