Despite suggestions that the French Grand Prix would be missing from next year's Formula One calendar, the national motorsport body has revealed that it is keen to keep its place on the schedule - and could return to Magny-Cours.

Perhaps afraid that taking a year out would be tantamount to suicide with the number of new events queuing up for inclusion on an increasingly-packed calendar, the FFSA has announced that it is working to keep its date, but admitted that it had to resolve matters with local government agencies representing the area around Magny-Cours.

The governing body has made clear, however, that it would be exploring the possibility of moving the event away from the Nevers circuit - popular with drivers in terms of racing but out of favour for its remote location - as it seeks to fulfil the contract it has with FOM.

"Following its meeting in Paris on 19 July, the FFSA Executive Committee wishes to underline the importance it attaches to the French Grand Prix - which it saved in 2003 after the event was dropped by the Soci?t? du Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours," a statement issued by the FFSA read.

"The FFSA Executive Committee would like to reaffirm its determination to organise the French Grand Prix until its contract with the FIA Formula 1 World Championship rights holding company expires in 2011.

"With regard to the 2008 race, its entry will be confirmed on condition that contractual agreements are obtained with the Conseil G?n?ral de la Ni?vre and the Conseil
R?gional de Bourgogne in compliance with these bodies' pledge to increase their support to the Federation in order to permit the event to balance its books.

"Meanwhile, the FFSA Executive Committee has decided to implement a search for sites with a view to durably ensuring the future of the French Grand Prix.

"This approach, which has become necessary in today's context of growing international competition and the rapid evolution in organisational and accommodation standards, will place the accent on innovation, financial viability and a bid to obtain partnerships between the private and public sectors which are indispensable for this type of event."

While a street race in the capital Paris has been mooted - and welcomed by several parties - it is more likely that the event will resort to a new or existing purpose-built venue. Paris could, however, provide the backdrop to future French GPs with land adjacent to Orly airport earmarked for possible development, although should Bernie Ecclestone succeed in selling Paul Ricard, the race could also return there. With no danger of accusations of vested interests, the event could be a genuine F1 flagship courtesy of the circuit's hi-tech facilities and modern medical and safety provisions.

 

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