2011 French Grand Prix Close to Impossible

Although some have hoped that, with the investment of Jean Todt as new president of the International Automobile Federation, France will finally have a shot of getting their Formula One Grand Prix back, the recent reports from the country points to the exact opposite direction. It seems nobody in France – we mean the people who actually have the power to do something about it – actually wants F1 to return to the country.

Nicolas Deschaux, the president of the country's motor racing sanctioning body FFSA (Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile), hinted that the French politicians don't give a damn about securing an F1 race in the near future, as environmental issues are more important in summoning the necessary number of votes for the electoral agenda.

There is a time for sponsorships of the government. The (French) government has a view on this subject that is distorted by electoral considerations under the heading of the environment,” said Deschaux, according to L'Equipe sports daily.

He made an interesting comparison between France and Russia, whose PM Vladimir Putin recently confirmed that Lada, main brand of AvtoVAZ (a company that is 25 percent owned by Renault), will sponsor the first Russian driver in the history of Formula One, Vitaly Petrov, for the 2010 season of the series.

When I see (Russian prime minister Vladimir) Putin announcing the support of (Vitaly) Petrov with Lada, I see the gap is huge compared to what happens in France,” added Deschaux.

While revealing that he is constantly speaking to Todt about the prospect of having France back into F1 with at least one of the 3 projects in the works – the redevelopment of the Magny-Cours circuit, bringing Paul Ricard to F1 standards or the new Sarcelles project – Deschaux insisted that 2011 would be an unrealistic aim for France to make an F1 return.

I am awaiting clarification of the financial feasibility of Sarcelles. But I cannot predict the year of the next grand prix of France. It would be unrealistic to think it will be 2011,” concluded Deschaux.
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