Magny Cours still hoping to host French GP

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari, second; Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari, race winner; Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota, third. Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Race Day, Magny-Cours, France, Sunday 22 June 2008.
Felipe Massa won the last grand prix in France in 2008 also on the podium are Kimi Raikkonen (second) and Jarno Trulli (third)

Apr.6 (GMM) Amid France’s push to return to the Formula 1 calendar, it appears Magny Cours is not yet out of the game, although prime minister Francois Fillon has earmarked Paul Ricard – the well-known test circuit at Le Castallet near Marseille – as the host.

But it was Magny Cours that hosted the French grand prix between 1991 and 2008.

The local Nievre department’s president Patrice Joly last week accused Fillon of “bias in favour of Le Castellet” for the 2013 deal.

He said Magny Cours has “all the facilities, infrastructure and expertise needed to organise such an event”.

Championing Magny Cours’ renewed push to host the 2013 French grand prix is Guy Ligier, the now 81-year-old Frenchman who once had his own formula one team based at the circuit.

“I am trying to lend a hand,” he confirmed to the sports daily L’Equipe.

“I have had Bernie (Ecclestone) on the phone several times, as a friend, and have asked for his advice. We talked about the hotel business around (Magny Cours).

“He said to me, ‘Guy, I know you’re in the know.’

“I have a feeling that Bernie is not going to sign anything before he knows the outcome of the presidential election.

“I’ll tell you honestly what I feel: nothing is lost for Magny Cours,” added Ligier.