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French GP vs Le Mans in 2013?

The return of the French Grand Prix to next year's F1 calendar could pitch the race directly against the Le Mans 24 Hours if Bernie Ecclestone gets the date he wants....
Bernie Ecclestone's push to bring the French Grand Prix back to the F1 calendar in place of the axed Grand Prix of America could set up an awkward clash of dates with the country's other major motorsport event.

Ever since the promoters of the proposed street race on streets of New Jersey were forced into an embarrassing climb down over plans to run the race next summer, Ecclestone has been looking to fill the vacant slot and keep the calendar at 20 races, with France his country of choice to step into the void.

France has been looking to return to the schedule for some time, but continues to run into the problem of finding the funds to stage a grand prix. Despite that, both Magny-Cours and Paul Ricard have tabled bids to host the event with the FFSA, and, although Turkey offers an alternative venue, Ecclestone appears poised to sign off on a deal for 2013.

Surprisingly, however, the 82-year old could turn his back on the circuit that he owns in order to go with the more race-ready Magny-Cours, despite Paul Ricard's bid apparently having attracted enough local government backing to financially secure the event.

Without reshuffling the calendar for a third time, however, the bigger headache is finding a suitable date for the race, with two available weekends between the Canadian and British grands prix. New Jersey had originally been planned as part two of a double-header with the trip to Montreal, and the logistics of returning the cars and equipment to Europe precludes the use of the same weekend for the race in France.

The home of grand prix racing usually formed its own double-header with the British Grand Prix and, while that remains possible despite Silverstone's round being brought forward to avoid a clash with the Wimbledon tennis finals, it raises the spectre of going head-to-head with the Le Mans 24 Hours, itself moved back a week from its usual mid-June slot.

Ecclestone has reportedly told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that the 23 June 'would make sense' despite the clash with the sportscar classic and Magny-Cours providing a bigger geographical rival to Le Mans.



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Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) CEO Formula One Group (FOM)
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