Locals voice strong opposition to prospective Nice GP

Henry Valantine
A view of the Nice coastline in France. Nice GP June 2022.

A view of the coastline along the Cote d'Azur city of Nice. June 2022.

Local residents have been up in arms against the idea of a Nice GP entering Formula 1, on financial and ecological grounds.

Stefano Domenicali confirmed recently that the city proposed a bid to Formula 1 about becoming the new host of the French Grand Prix, if the contract in place with Circuit Paul Ricard is not renewed beyond the end of the year.

Domenicali added that the future of the French Grand Prix will be sealed by the end of July, as next season’s calendar begins to take shape.

L’Association Tous Citoyens [All Citizens Association] in Nice wrote about their distaste of the idea of hosting a race in the city, even beginning an online petition calling on local politicians to reject the notion – which gained more than 1,000 signatures within three days.

They wrote on their website about the main reasons behind their objection:

“1. A waste of public money: a €6m subsidy granted to a Grand Prix in the Var [region] and an even greater expense to come for the installation of this Grand Prix in Nice.

“2. An ecological aberration: Nice must drastically reduce its production of greenhouse gases. A Formula 1 Grand Prix, unless it involves only electric vehicles, is a guaranteed increase in air pollution in the city.

“3. A hindrance to good living in the city: noise, odours, pollution, the city of Nice needs everything but a Formula 1 Grand Prix.”

David Nakache, the association’s president, said the local group are “astonished” that such a proposal has been made, given the public funding that already goes into the current French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, which would only be escalated further if Nice is selected as a Formula 1 host venue.

“Two years ago, the Metropolis voted a subsidy to the Grand Prix of Castellet, in the Var [region],” Nakache told BFM Côte d’Azur.

“We were all astonished, normally the Metropolis votes for projects that take place on the territory of the Metropolis […] At the end of the three years of operation of the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet, they are looking for a new destination and, as if by chance, the city of Nice could host it. In terms of the management of public funds, this is shocking.”

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi did not dampen the idea of the city having Formula 1 within it from next year, arguing that the city being a viable destination for world-class sport is a good thing.

“Decidedly, these days Nice is at the centre of all interests as a destination for the organisation of the most prestigious sporting events,” the mayor told Nice Matin.

“One day there is talk of the arrival of the Tour de France, another of hosting the French F1 GP. It’s nice to be envied rather than pitied.”

This year’s edition of the French Grand Prix will take place on the weekend of 22-24 July.