SEPTEMBER 17, 2008

Sarcelles bidding for a Grand Prix

The Parisian suburb of Sarcelles is best known these days for the riots that took place in the public housing districts in the south of the commune in November 2005 which brought to light the plight of France's young immigrants. Ever since the commune has suffered with that reputation. There are plans to use Formula 1 to change the image of the area with a bid to the French GP in 2010. This has been put forward by the mayor of Sarcelles Francois Pupponi and is supported by former F1 winner Jean-Pierre Beltoise.

The project is to be part of a development called the "Pole Val de France" and will be built on 270 acres of state-owned land, with a circuit of around three miles in length with a technology park alongside. The project will be funded with private money and it is reckoned that the construction costs will be around $280m. The long term goal is to create around 10,000 new jobs in the area. There are believed to be at least four other projects which include Le Bourget (an executive jet airport, which is close to Sarcelles), Evry in the south of Paris and two in the east at Melun and Disneyland Paris. Magny-Cours is also hoping to retain the race. Beltoise and Pupponi argue that their project will help develop a region which needs help while the Disneyland idea will simply add to an area which is already on the up. The project will include a $170m stadium complex with 150,000 seats, 40,000 of them under cover. This would be used for the race and for other sports. The site is located close to the D104 Paris ring road, known as La Francilienne, and is very convenient for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. The area lies under the western flight path of the airport and so noise will not be as big a problem as might be the case in other locations.