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NOVEMBER 23, 2003

France ruminates about F1 loss

According to race promoter Roland Hodel, the French Grand Prix will happen at Magny-Cours again but not until 2005. He says that the company that organises the race has a new deal with Bernie Ecclestone to take the race from 2005 to 2009 and an option for another five years beyond that.

What Hodel did not say is that in order for this new deal to become a reality, Magny Cours needs to sort out its financial situation and pay the $11m that it owes to Formula One Management. It then needs to work out how to structure a new financial structure so it can pay its bills in the future.

"In 2004 everyone in France who loves motor sport has to launch into action to bring in all the partnerships which are necessary for us to have Formula 1 back again," he said.

As expected the French government has reacted to the announcement that the race is off. Sports Minister Jean-Francois Lamour said that he would do everything in his power to ensure that FFSA convinces the FIA to run the race in 2004. This however does not take into account the fact that the FFSA cannot pay for the event.

The French have until December 12 to find a solution to the problem. That is the date of the next FIA World Motor Sport Council at which the race will be pulled off the F1 calendar.