The way forward for the French Grand Prix and a number of other different basic European races was declared unsure on Monday because the mud settled following Max Verstappen’s crushing victory in entrance of a sell-out crowd on the Paul Ricard Circuit. Widespread misgivings about F1’s plans to scrap established conventional races, or rotate them, and as an alternative to carry extra ‘worldwide’ large metropolis road circuit occasions, together with a proposed Las Vegas race, dominated paddock debate throughout a sun-baked weekend. World champion Verstappen had joined different drivers earlier than the race in objecting to the possible lack of the game’s iconic conventional circuits, together with the Spa-Francorchamps monitor within the Belgian Ardennes, from a proposed 25-race calendar for subsequent 12 months.
Different historic occasions, together with the Monaco and Italian Grands Prix, have been cited as targets for the axe as Liberty Media, house owners of the business rights, forge a brand new future, breaking from the previous and focusing on new youthful audiences.
“I do not wish to see myself in 2028, or no matter, driving solely on road circuits near a metropolis only for the fan engagement, or no matter,” mentioned championship chief Verstappen.
“I perceive everybody desires to earn money, however there’s additionally a restrict to that as a result of it is essential to maintain these actually cool circuits on the calendar as an alternative of simply driving on road circuits, which I believe F1 automobiles aren’t designed for anyway.”
Verstappen has been reluctant to just accept the game’s Americanisation, led by house owners Liberty Media’s push for a Netflix-driven enlargement into new markets together with the USA, the Center East and South Africa and objected to collaborating within the ‘Drive to Survive’ sequence.
The game’s traditionalists got hope on Monday when race promoter Christian Estrosi mentioned he was “not resigned” to the lack of the French Grand Prix subsequent 12 months after document crowds at this season’s occasion.
“It is the top of a contract by which France needed to present its know-how in organisation,” he mentioned. “200,000 folks crammed the circuit between Friday and Sunday, which is an absolute document.
“We’re in the course of a dialogue — so no, I’m not resigned. I noticed our nation regain its Grand Prix de France — this magnificent, in style sporting occasion. I’m satisfied that within the coming weeks, we could have extraordinarily optimistic issues to announce for the way forward for our Grand Prix.”
Le Mans to host race?
French driver Esteban Ocon of Alpine prompt Le Mans, the venue of the world’s most well-known 24-Hour race, could possibly be utilized in a brand new format that additionally helped to protect the Belgian Grand Prix.
“I believe now we have a number of choices,” he mentioned. “I do not assume round Paris is life like with the best way the folks there are working the realm, however there are others that might work — Magny-Cours, in fact, however it’s exhausting to get to. Le Mans as a French Grand Prix could possibly be superior.”
He added that alternating races in France and Belgium could possibly be an answer.
“I do not care in regards to the enterprise side of it as a driver, but it surely leaves F1 in a greater place and for us it is essential, however as a driving expertise I like Jeddah and lots of of those new tracks.”
France, Belgium and Italy, together with Britain and Monaco, hosted races within the inaugural 1950 world championship season.
All 5 have been touted as underneath risk in recent times because the internet hosting charges have risen with the arrival of recent occasions together with Miami, Singapore, Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Jeddah and extra deliberate.
France has paid a reported price of round $20 million to host a race at Le Castellet since returning to the calendar in 2018, after a 10-year absence, whereas Saudi Arabia pays a reported $50 million.
“The truth is that F1 is extraordinarily engaging and there are a number of cities and international locations that wish to host F1,” mentioned French GP director Eric Boullier.
Verstappen provided a extra purist view that helped clarify why hundreds of followers would spend three days in chilly, moist woodlands, staying in tents, to observe the Belgian race relatively than a luxurious lodge in a heat local weather with a road monitor.
“It is only a nice monitor to drive… I perceive that to get there in comparison with different tracks, it is in all probability a bit of bit harder, however it’s simply implausible,” he mentioned.
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