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French GP cancelled for financial reasons

October 16, 2008 11:08 IST

The 2009 French Formula One Grand Prix has been cancelled for financial reasons, organisers said on Wednesday.

"For economic reasons, the FFSA (French Motorsport Federation) has decided to cancel the (2009) French Grand Prix," said a statement posted on the race's website (wwww.gpfrancef1.com).

"The FFSA would like to thank all those clients who attended the French Grand Prix and have supported the event in the last few years," the statement added.

It said all those who had already booked tickets would be reimbursed and apologised to all for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation.

The FFSA had said in earlier statement that, due to the economic situation, it was no longer prepared to promote financially the race at Magny-Cours.

"As a result, and as long as a promoter capable of succeeding the FFSA has not been identified, the French Grand Prix will not be able to feature on the FIA international calendar in 2009," it added.

France [Images], the country that invented grand prix racing and whose language permeates the sport from chassis to parc ferme, has only once (in 1955) been absent from the Formula One calendar since the championship started in 1950.

The FFSA has a contract to run the French Grand Prix until 2011 but Ecclestone has long wanted to move it to a track closer to Paris from 2010.

Next year's race had already been billed as the last at Magny-Cours, a circuit in the depths of rural France that has fallen out of favour with teams and sponsors.

SECOND EVENT

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had wanted to axe it earlier this year but agreed a reprieve and the circuit retained its slot with a June 28 date on an 18-round calendar published last week.

That same calendar was notable for the absence of the Canadian Grand Prix [Images] in Montreal, which had been on an earlier 19-race provisional list, due to contractual issues.

It was not immediately clear whether France's disappearance might re-open the door for Canada [Images], a commercially important race for the car manufacturers who dominate the sport and are unhappy not to have a North American round following the exit of Indianapolis.

Disneyland Paris is a favoured option for a future French Grand Prix, with plenty of hotel rooms and easy rail access from Paris and the rest of Europe.

Poor accommodation facilities and difficult access were regarded as the main weaknesses of the Magny-Cours track.

The FFSA said on Wednesday it was studying six "serious and worthwhile" projects, most of which involved a new track near the French capital.

© Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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