Election speeches and politics isn’t the only thing happening in France these days according to L’Equipe. It seems that France may be gaining a foothold on the Formula One calendar with with the return of the French Grand Prix. The French news paper quoted F1 bos Bernie Ecclestone as saying:
“The deal is done,” Ecclestone said. “We actually agreed on financial terms with the sports minister, David Douillet, in my office last Tuesday.
“We are still discussing a few points about money around the race, ‘You give me this, I want that’ and so on. But, for me, there is no doubt that we will sort it all out.”
According to AUTOSPORT the deal is for five races starting in 2013 and then alternating for 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021. The circuit in question is the full scope of the Paul Ricard track and rumors still persist as to which race will be alternating in tandem with the French GP…the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps is the most mentioned possibility.
While an alternating Spa Francorchamps is better than no race at the legendary circuit, I feel Formula 1 should pay Belgium for the privilege of racing there instead of cutting the frequency based on the country’s ability to pay the sanctioning fee yearly but such is my love of that circuit.
Regardless of my bias, it is good to see the French Grand Prix back on the calendar and perhaps a new precedent is being set with European and possibly other locations spreading the cost of hosting an F1 race out by alternating with another venue.
On one hand the sanctioning fees are so exorbitant that most countries or organizers cannot afford the yearly impact so alternating with another host nation or organizer may make sense. On the other hand, one has to wonder if the weight of the current model isn’t over-valued if nations like France, Spain, Australia, South Korea, China and Belgium can’t afford a yearly race.
Ed. Note~ For Ecclestone to seem pliable, willing and animated about getting the deal done is a bit of an oddity. There is a political element to this deal for him that it get done as early as possible and prior to the election. He said, “before the result of the second round of presidential elections in France, if they wish. Whatever the outcome, I do not care. This is a domestic issue that does concern me.”. I’d say he very much cares about the election and knows the possibility of the deal not being done depending on the outcome of the election.