Alain Prost - the most successful French racing driver in history - has met with the country's president Nicolas Sarkozy to impress upon him the importance of getting the French Grand Prix re-instated on the Formula 1 calendar.

For the first time in more than half a century, there will be no French Grand Prix on the F1 schedule in 2009, after race organisers failed to come to a financial agreement with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management (FOM) company.

That followed years of threats from the sport's commercial rights-holder to take the race away from Magny-Cours - a circuit little loved by drivers, teams or fans due to its rural location, difficult access, scarcity of overtaking opportunities and lack of any real atmosphere.

Though noises were made about moving the event to either Paris or Disneyland, ultimately nothing has come of either initiative, leaving the oldest race on the calendar hors jeu.

Quadruple world champion Prost - who strongly backed the idea of bringing F1 to the capital - is said to have spoken to Sarkozy about the benefits to France of the international media exposure a grand prix generates, as well as its undeniably positive impact on the local economy.

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