LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JULY 24: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 leads Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 and the rest of the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

No 2023 French Grand Prix, hope for Germany return

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JULY 24: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 leads Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 and the rest of the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

French Grand Prix organisers accepted on Thursday their Formula 1 race would not take place in 2023 but said they were working on its future return as part of a rotational system.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told reporters at Spa-Francorchamps on Wednesday that talks about the race, held this year at the southern Le Castellet Paul Ricard Circuit near Marseille, were continuing.

“We are talking with the French federation and with the government because as you know, more and more the future of F1 also is related to promoters that see that as investment for the country and for the community,” he said.

“The discussions are very open…a possibility, not next year but in the future, could be also to find a sort of rotational proposition that would enable everyone to be part of the calendar.”

The French Grand Prix organisers said they took note of Domenicali’s comments regarding the “absence from the F1 calendar for the 2023 season”.

“The French Grand Prix, F1 and all the stakeholders of the grand prix continue to work together on the presence of this event in the calendar in the years to come, and in particular on a rotation system,” they added.

Germany, which lasted hosted a race in 2019, could also be in line for an eventual return

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 22:  Fans unfurl a giant banner in support of Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing during the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 22, 2012 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastian Vettel

The return to Hockenheim or Nurburgring more so if, as expected, Volkswagen brands Audi and Porsche join rivals Mercedes on the starting grid.

“We really hope that Germany can be back around the table,” said Domenicali in a virtual round table ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“But one thing is to say we would like to have the grand prix, the other thing is to put on the table the things that are needed to discuss about the grand prix. Hopefully soon, with something that could happen soon, they will have a different situation to discuss with us,” concluded the F1 chief.

Meanwhile, Porsche and Audi are expected soon to announce entries to F1, in partnership with Red Bull and Sauber (who run the Alfa Romeo team) respectively after the sport approved new engine rules for 2026.

The cost of hosting a race has been the main stumbling block to Germany’s return, with the 2019 edition going ahead after a last-minute title sponsorship deal with Mercedes-Benz.

On the downside, Germany’s four times world champion Sebastian Vettel is retiring at the end of this season while Mick Schumacher is out of contract with Haas and his future uncertain. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)