Paul Ricard lobbies to host French GP

Ayrton Senna (BRA) McLaren MP4/4 leads team mate Alain Prost. French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard, 3 July 1988

Ayrton Senna leads Alain Prost during the 1988 French GP at Paul Ricard

Jan.10 (GMM) If Paul Ricard gets the go ahead to host France’s Formula 1 return in 2013, the circuit in Le Castellet could bring in more than 70,000 spectators to the venue on the Cote D’Azur.

That is the claim of the track’s director Stephane Clair, amid reports French prime minister Francois Fillon is poised to approve a deal to see the country alternate an annual spot on the F1 calendar with Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps.

Previously, a drawback of installing France’s race at Paul Ricard – officially called the High Tech Test Track – was the fact its current layout is not designed to host more than a few thousand VIPs.

But Clair insisted in a French-language AFP report: “It would be a great event to unify people with attractive prices thanks to funding provided by public and private partners.”

He said the project would include the addition of 50,000 temporary seats at Paul Ricard, with another 20-30,000 spectators able to watch from the hills “as in the past”.

He said Paul Ricard now needs the official go-ahead “before the end of the first 2012 quarter”, in order to comply with the requirements for planning, permits and environmental compliance.