Honda website
Honda website

NOVEMBER 21, 2003

What happens if the French GP is called off?

The chopping and changing on the Formula 1 calendar has been non-stop throughout the autumn with horse-trading as 18 races try to fit into 17 dates. Until a few days ago there was no hint that the Canadians would be able to save the race and it is probably no coincidence that a few days after a settlement in Montreal was announced that rumors pop up about the French GP being off.

This would mean that Canada would no longer be the 18th race and thus the promoters would no longer need to find the extra $20m to pay the teams to accept a race outside the clauses of the Concorde Agreement. In addition it would have been a perfect situation for F1 as France is a non-tobacco race and so allowing the Canadians back into the World Championship would not be seen as backing down.

The return of Canada on June 13 makes sense with the United States GP at Indianapolis planned for June 20. There would then be a two-week break to the French GP on July 4 and then a week before the British GP on July 11. The British date was not ideal because the race clashes with the Wimbledon Men's Final and the final of the Euro 2004 Football Championship in Portugal.

Logic therefore suggests that if France does fall out of the World Championship as is being suggested the British GP will be moved back to its traditional July 11 date, thus getting away from the clash with a major soccer event, which would hurt the F1 ratings across the whole world.

This is currently just speculation but it is hard to imagine that such an obvious step would be ignored.