The French Grand Prix may not be disappearing from the Formula 1 calendar after the race promoter said they will have “extremely positive things to announce.”
With the Paul Ricard hosting the last race of its current contract with Formula 1, there have been few talks of an extension leading many to believe the F1 circus would not be travelling to the south of France any time in the near future.
With Las Vegas being added to an already packed calendar for 2023, there has been concern that tracks like France as well as Monaco and Spa may soon find their future in the sport come under question.
Liberty Media, who owns F1, has been focusing more on street tracks of late as it allows them to engage more fans which in turns makes more money but this has had its objectors, most notably current World Champion Max Verstappen.
The Red Bull driver said he did not want to see the calendar become only street circuits and hoped that “really cool circuits” had a place in the future.
“I don’t want to see myself in 2028, or whatever, driving only on street circuits close to a city just for the fan engagement, or whatever,” Verstappen said.
“I understand everyone wants to make money, but there is also a limit to that because it’s important to keep these really cool circuits on the calendar instead of just driving on street circuits, which I think F1 cars are not designed for anyway.”
Will France stay on the calendar next year?
The future of the French Grand Prix is currently up in the air.
However, the future of the Paul Ricard circuit may be saved after the race promoter Christian Estrosi told fans to expect an “extremely positive” announcement in the coming weeks.
“It’s the end of a contract in which France had to show its know-how in organisation,” he said, as reported by france24.com “200,000 people filled the circuit between Friday and Sunday, which is an absolute record.
“We are in the middle of a discussion, so no, I am not resigned. I saw our country regain its Grand Prix de France, this magnificent, popular sporting event. I am convinced that in the coming weeks, we will have extremely positive things to announce for the future of our Grand Prix.”
France was one of the hosts in F1’s inaugural season back in 1950 alongside Britain, Monaco, Belgium and Italy. Up until 2009 it had been held every year aside from 1955 following the Le Mans disaster in which 83 spectators and French driver Pierre Levegh were killed.
The country did not host a race from 2009 until 2018 before F1 returned to France at the Paul Ricard circuit. It has since hosted a race every season aside from 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.