Belgian GP could lose its place on F1 calendar as France eyes return

Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali is reportedly open to talks with French President Emmanuel Macron over reviving the French Grand Prix.

The Circuit Paul Ricard played host to the Formula 1 French Grand Prix intermittently from 1971 to 2022, when it was dropped from the calendar in favour of a third US-based race.

The historic circuit fell victim to Formula 1’s efforts to become a more global sport even though French former F1 driver Jean Alesi, who is president of the Paul Ricard circuit, believes there is a “national will” to host the event.

“We never had the honour of having the president of the Republic at the event,” Alesi said. 

“The presidents of other countries are honoured to have the event on their territory,” he added.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has reportedly suggested that Paul Ricard could return to the F1 calendar sooner than expected, as part of a move to provide an alternative spot for European hosts.

“Maybe Spa or an Austrian GP or Imola will alternate with us,” Alesi revealed. 

“Everything is on the table.”

Amid the debate over Paul Ricard’s future, Domenicali said that he is open to a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron over the country’s inclusion on the calendar.

Article continues below

“If president Macron wants to talk, I will be there,” Domenicali told the French sports daily L’Equipe. 

“A great reader of this newspaper, Domenicali does not want to wipe our country off the F1 map, but he is asking for interlocutors that he has lost,” L’Equipe correspondent Frederic Ferret said. 

READ: Charles Leclerc speaks out on embarrassing incident in Miami

“If the French government was ready for discussions, it is clear that F1 would not say no to France, even if today the interest of the government or possible promoters does not seem great.”

With circuits like Paul Ricard axed from the calendar and rumours that other European tracks could follow, Formula 1 has been accused of becoming too US-focused amid a boom in interest for the sport across America.

2022 saw Miami join the calendar, with Las Vegas being added in 2023, both sitting alongside the long-standing race at the Circuit of the Americas.