(AFP) – Oct 15, 2008
PARIS (AFP) — France's Formula One Grand Prix could be axed from the 2009 calender due to financial difficulties, Nicolas Deschaux, president of the French motorsport Federation (FFSA), warned on Wednesday.
"After looking at the economic situation, the FFSA will no longer act as the French Formula One Grand Prix's financial promoter," Deschaux told a press conference.
"As a result, as long as there is no promoter to succeed the FFSA, the French GP may not figure in the FIA calendar in 2009."
Recent speculation has surrounded the venue for the French edition, currently held at Magny-Cours in central France after F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said he would like to see Paris host a Grand Prix.
Deschaux on Wednesday said a plan to host a race near Disney was the only viable option if a suitable finance package could be found, but that it would not be ready until 2010.
"The only project that could be put in place for 2010 is the Paris, Val d'Europe project (Disney)," he said, adding that six other venues had been considered.
Despite being critical of Magny-Cours' lack of hotel infrastructure and traffic congestion, Ecclestone in June said the future of the venue was assured due to contractual obligations.
"We've got a contract here for another couple of years so I am pretty sure we will be back. The local promoters said this might be the last race, but now they are saying that will be next year," he said.
"I am sure it will be on the calendar and it will be here again."
Earlier this month F1's governing body, the FIA, took Canada off the 2009 circuit and replaced it with cash-rich United Arab Emirates city Abu Dhabi.
F1 bosses also announced they would be holding crisis talks at the end of the month over the sport's financial viability in the wake of the worldwide economic downturn.
FIA president Max Mosley told the BBC that unless drastic spending cuts are implemented, F1 would go bust within a year.
The new 18-race F1 season will kick off on March 29 in Australia and end in Abu Dhabi on November 15.
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