MARCH 21, 2007

Bernie talks of a Paris Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone says that he would like to see the French Grand Prix moving to the region of Paris, rather than struggling on trying to survive at Magny-Cours. The timing of these revelations is no doubt significant as France heads towards a presidential election.

"It is clear that the French government has not done anything to help Magny-Cours," Bernie told Autohebdo. "For two years the autoroute has been stopped six miles from the circuit and they say that it could be another four or five years before the last bit is finished. President Francois Mitterand came to the first Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in 1991 but Jacques Chirac has never been to a race. Having lost the America's Cup bid for Marseilles and the Olympics Games bid for Paris in 2012 - both projects in which the government was ready to invest tens of millions of euros - I don't imagine that they will let one of the biggest sporting events of the year disappear."

Ecclestone says that the logical place for the race is Paris but accepts that the politics may preclude a race in the city itself.

"Paris is the number one tourist destination in the world," he says. "For me a Paris GP has been a dream dating back several years, even to the days of my old friend Jean-Marie Balestre. There are some excellent solutions in the region."

It seems that the primary location under study at the moment is Disneyland Paris.