FEBRUARY 6, 2023
No national will for French GP says Alesi
France fell off the Formula 1 calendar because it lacks the "national will" to organise an annual grand prix.
That is the claim of French F1 legend Jean Alesi, who after the circuit lost its grand prix following the 2022 edition has just become president at Paul Ricard.
Now, the simple dissolution of the event's 'public interest group' is causing great controversy due to the remainder of a disputed EUR 27 million debt.
Alesi, 58, thinks the much bigger problem is the lack of national and political interest for a F1 race within France.
He told BFM Toulon Var radio that France, for instance, "never had the honour of having the president of the Republic at the event".
"The presidents of other countries are honoured to have the event on their territory," said the former Ferrari driver.
"The French GP is not a problem of the Paul Ricard circuit, it is a national problem. There is no national will to have a grand prix," he added.
Indeed, he claims there are currently "32 countries" pushing to host a grand prix - with the already cluttered calendar already hosting 23 races in 2023.
"Geographically, the Paul Ricard circuit was ideal," Alesi said. "But when you arrive in a country where you have no interest, it becomes difficult."
He said he is willing to sit down to discuss the topic with current French president Emmanuel Macron.
"It would be an honour to speak with a president of the Republic about something that is close to my heart," said Alesi. "But I think he has other priorities."