Alain Prost Hits at French Politicians for Grand Prix Failure

Quadruple champion of Formula One racing Alain Prost has once again hit at the political environment in France, blaming the politicians for not doing all they can to bring the country back on the map of the Great Circus.

With the Magny-Cours circuit out of F1 due to old and undeveloped facilities and several other projects for a potential French Grand Prix scrapped due to political difficulties (Flins-Les-Mureaux) and financial barriers (Disneyland Paris), the country which for decades has provided the sport with world champions and entertaining races is likely to watch F1 on TV for many years to come.

Talking to RMC radio this week, Prost voiced his frustration that France is slowly fading away from the F1 scene, and nobody seems to care.

Do we want a grand prix of France?” he wondered. “Today, there are no French drivers in F1, Renault will soon not be called Renault ... it's a bit complicated and a financial issue. The price asked by Bernie Ecclestine (for a GP) is variable – about EUR 15 million per year in Europe. Abroad, it is between 30 and 40 million, as in Abu Dhabi.

It's an economic equation: how many spectators can you get? (If it's) about 50 or 60,000, and the price is 15 million, your losses are about 8 million. Who can put up 8 million? So if the politicians or the government are not saying 'it's important for France to have a grand prix', it's not worth talking about.

It's rubbish when I hear that what is needed is a promoter. The promoter (of the Disneyland Paris project) was the Lagardere group and myself. Above all what is important is that the economics are sustainable.”

Talking about the Flins-Les-Mureaux project, which was abandoned due to environmentalists from the region backed by political figures, Prost insisted that momentum has been lost in lobbying for a circuit there.

There was a real programme for the utilisation of the circuit, with an economic and social advantage. There would have been 100,000 extra people near Paris. Everyone was enthusiastic, especially Bernie Ecclestone.”

But the project was abandoned when everything was ready and financed, because of the regional election and an environmental problem that was essentially political.”
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