French prime minister Francois Fillon is keen to get the Grand Prix of France — the oldest of them all — back onto the Formula One calendar and has put together an action group that includes Renault team principal Eric Boullier and Paul Ricard circuit manager Gerard Neveu. The French GP has not been run since 2008, when financial problems (the race organizers could no longer could afford the fee demanded by Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM) put an end to the event at Magny Cours.
Despite the addition of races in Texas next year and Russia in 2013, as well as this year’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix, Fillon said his taskforce was investigating the possibilities, and appeared that the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet, located in the south of France, about 35 km east of Marseille, is the most likely venue. The track was last used for pre-season F1 testing three years ago.
The last race on French soil was won by Felipe Massa for Ferrari in 2008 at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, its official. The French Grand Prix has a long history, the first official Formula One GP was held at Reims in 1950 — won by five-time World Champion and Argentine racing legend Juan Manual Fangio — but the appellation “Grand Prix,” indeed the entire concept of motor racing itself, date to France at the turn of the 20th century.