‘It would be odd’: Alpine warn Formula 1 against ‘unfair’ move

The French and Belgian Grand Prix are set to be axed from the 2023 calendar.

Last weekend’s French Grand Prix looks set to be the last, at least for the foreseeable future.

The Circuit Paul Ricard doesn’t currently have a contract to host a race for next season, with its current deal having concluded after the recent race.

France returned to the calendar in 2018, following a 10-year absence from the pinnacle of motorsport.

Should the removal of the circuit from the calendar be confirmed, then it would mean the Alpine F1 Team, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly would all be without a home race.

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Whilst many drivers don’t have a race in their home country on the calendar, it’s incredibly rare for a team not to have a race in their home country.

The Mercedes F1 Team have suffered from this as of late, with the German Grand Prix not having featured since 2020.

Losing the French GP would be hugely significant to Alpine, who put on a number of events in the build-up to their home race.

France also has a long and prestigious history in F1, having produced some of the most successful teams and drivers.

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Alpine CEO Lauren Rossi described the French GP as a “race like any other”, insisting it would be “unfair” for the Grand Prix to be removed.

“It’s a race like any other in terms of like the way we compete,” Rossi said when asked about the race’s likely F1 departure

“Of course it’s an important race. I mean, we would love to perform well. I don’t know that it is not on the calendar next year

“But yes, I would be very disappointed. And I’m not talking about it as the manager of a French team, or even as a French citizen

“It’s more like, I think France is a racing stronghold. It’s been giving a lot to the sport. It has a big audience, a big fan base

“I think it would be a little bit kind of unfair, I would say, to remove a big milestone like the French Grand Prix from the calendar. I think it would be odd but I’m hoping that it will stay.”

Alpine actually had an incredibly successful home race, after Fernando Alonso finished sixth and Esteban Ocon finished eighth, as the team saw themselves move clear of the McLaren F1 Team in P4 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Staggeringly, the French GP isn’t the only major European race set for the axe, with the incredibly famous Belgian Grand Prix believed to not have a place on the 2023 calendar.

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Whilst Spa-Francorchamps has undergone track changes following recent crashes, particularly at Eau Rouge and Radillon, it remains a fan and drivers’ favourite.

The sport is wanting to drop France and Belgium from the calendar, with Las Vegas joining the calendar and South Africa looking likely to join.

Qatar will also be hosting a race from next season, with the country having been given a year off from hosting a race, to focus on the 2022 FIFA World Cup.