2009 French Grand Prix cancelled

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F1 will not race at Magny-Cours in 2009

The French Grand Prix has been cancelled for 2009 in a surprise move by the event organisers, the Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile. The FFSA issued the following statement:

After examining the economic situation, the FFSA renounces to be the financial promoters of a Formula One Grand Prix. 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.

The news comes just eight days after the Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from the 2009 F1 schedule with no warning.

The 2009 F1 calendar, which originally had 19 events on it, is now reduced to 17.

France has held a round of the F1 world championship every year since the series began in 1950, except in 1955, when it was cancelled following the Le Mans disaster. The first Grand Prix was held in France in 1906.

Bernie Ecclestone threatened to cancel the French Grand Prix this year and reinstated it. He did the same with the 2009 race as well, and it is public knowledge that he is looking for alternative hosts for the race. At least four potential venues have been rumoured.

Is the Magny-Cours round F1’s first victim of the credit crunch? Or is this an inevitable consequence of Bernie Ecclestone pushing race fees ever higher?

2009 F1 season
2009 F1 calendar

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “2009 French Grand Prix cancelled”

  1. Is the Magny-Cours round F1’s first victim of the credit crunch? Or is this an inevitable consequence of Bernie Ecclestone pushing race fees ever higher?

    I’d say both.

  2. If it is a result of the credit crunch, then i can’t imagine there won’t be other circuits in similar situations. It would be a pity if this was the case.

    As for the circuit, i’m not incredibly sad to see it go. The circuit really has provided some shocking racing in recent years.

  3. I have never liked that circuit, so I’m not that sad to see it go. However, if we really start to see the effect of the credit crunch, then others will follow. Will Hungary make it or do they pay a low fee? Also, Donington… Will they be able to raise money for the revamp? I have my doubts… I guess there will be a calendar in 2010 without a North American, French or British GP. Never really thought that would happen.

  4. It’s sad but not unexpected. Magny-Cours was never anyone’s favorite venue. Let’s hope they can put together another venue that makes better economic sense.

  5. I can envisage in the not-too-distant future that this Credit Crunch business will just send F1 out to the Middle and Far East as all the traditional European circuits go the same way as Magny Bore…

  6. Magny-Cours is quite welcome to drop off the calendar, but the French GP itself should be saved.

  7. Hmmm On a separate Note RBS is not doing well, which means future of Williams looks in good shape.
    There are other financial institutions in F1 like ING, Santander. I wonder how their bosses are reviewing the sponsorships to F1 team

    Motor Sports will have to revisit the Tobacco Ban in sports. Financial Institutions backing teams have been recent addition to sport and was seen as wider acceptance of F1.

    Lots of Backer from Middle-East had bailed out some of the financial institutions that were ailing in the year 2007. Is it time to get them involved in F1.. Questions Questions and More Questions :-?

    Magny Cours Out of Calendar, I won’t lose sleep over it. But in general both the Credit and Credibility (lack of governance and inconsistencies)Crunch are here to hurt future of F1 :-(

  8. oh wonderful. this opens up another option for a Paris GP street circuit. How exciting. :-(

  9. Could there be alternative motives here?

    The teams want a 3 week summer break, so FOM and the FIA get rid of Canada to allow for one. Then there is an outburst over the lack of a North American race and the FOTA look into ways to get Canada reinstated.

    Maybe, with Bernie looking at Disneyland for 2010, he had a few private words with the FFSA, telling them F1 will be back in 2010…?

  10. Terry Fabulous
    15th October 2008, 22:10

    Surely they can run it at Paul Ricard TTT.

    The hard thing to build (A top track) is already there.
    All they would need to do is get stands, toilets, food and drink concessions and some way of getting in and out.

    I wonder who runs Ricard now…. hmmmmmmmm.
    ; ) !!

  11. Does this mean there’s now room for the Canadian GP?

  12. Nobody went to the races at Paul Ricard when they were held………..but given that the fans are a pain in the neck for the little man, that might suit him.

  13. i have to say it is indeed sad that the French GP has been lost, althrough a route back for Canada perhaps??

  14. Nobody went to the races at Paul Ricard when they were held………..but given that the fans are a pain in the neck for the little man, that might suit him.

    How ironic it is what you’ve said seeing as they’ve got rid of all the grandstands and tarmacked over all the gravel traps there :)

    I liked Magny-Cours in that it was a nice smart venue and always looked good on TV but I have to agree that with it being in the middle of nowhere it’s been on dodgy ground for some time now – that’s why I think that the A1-Ring got pulled from the calendar (and it produced much better racing).

  15. haha quality, typical managment mistake right there, as in from FOM.

    Good on magny cours, shame its not in France next year (the race), but still. Did FOM not expect a cancellation?, much like they do to other race tracks?.

  16. Honestly, I was not really suprised by this news very much- Bernie has been gunning for Magny-Cours to be off the calendar for some time recently, and it suprised me a great deal to even see it on the 2009 schedule even in provisional form.

    Regarding the financial aspect of the financial crisis on F1 and on circuits in particualr, the sanctioning fees demanded by FOM have been a crushing burden on the privately-owned venues for some time now, forcing out Indy, Silverstone, Montreal, and now Magny-Cours in the span of just over a year. This is not a new issue, but one that has been going on for years- we are just seieng it come to fruition in one big bang. Sadly, many other traditonal races may also fall victim to this terirble policy as well- both German venues already lose huge sums of money on the project, and Donnington’s project may indeed be in danger if they don’t have rock-solid financing in place.

    Regarding Canada, I don’t really think that the loss of the French Grand Prix is related to any effort to get Montreal back, but I have thought with 100% confidence over the past few days that the Canadian Government will step in and pay for the GP to come back with money directly from the taxpayers, regardless of the cost. I don’t know if it will work for 2009, but it will happen I believe.

    Sven- you make a very good point, and while I do not know how much the Hungaroring pays, it will always be on the schedule because Bernie wants it to be there. It was a pet project for Bernie to get a GP behind the Iron Curtain in the 80’s, and because he created it, it will always have a place on the schedule- they just got a fat contract extension this season and will always survivie as long as Bernie has power.

  17. What we have here, like the credit crunch itself, is a general failure of common sense.

    I think that French Grand Prix is indeed a victim of the credit crunch, but of course lower fees would mean the event could be held.

    If Paul Ricard was to be considered for a modern Grand Prix it would be mentioned in the same moments as the streets of Paris. Any idea where the money for Streets of Paris was supposed to come from?

    The credit crisis itself is a complete failure of common sense too, it is most easily over-generalized as follows: people that have trusted each other for decades and centuries in some cases now suddenly don’t trust each other at all. As usual, there are no easy answers.

  18. Not at all surprised by this news, and lets face it, if not for the Donington deal for 2010, Silverstone would have faced the axe too. As mentioned in earlier debates, Ecclestone wants to bring in new venues but no one wants to exceed 18/20 grands prixs a year. Marry that to the running costs for the organisers, with Ecclestone taking his huge cut, and the current climate concerning the credit crunch, it was bound to happen.
    In the United States, NASCAR are having a hard time filling their racetracks with fans, yet the tv audience has skyrocked for the races. The bottom line is, everybody is feeling the pinch.
    My biggest fear is for F1 to lose anymore teams. We would only need two more teams to go the way of Super Aguri, and then we would be in trouble.

  19. i like to agree with chunter on the point of high fees.

    F1 currently rides on a very expensive and senseless fee structure. with this in mind the economic downturn surely has to impact more sooner than we think and with hard hitting effects.

    The F1 administration has been talking about cutting down costs in F1 but they have been focusing more on the teams, this should not be so, i think that the fia should also cut down the fees(considerably) because whats the point of having skyhigh fees when the teams have very low costs??? where does the money go and why when teams have already cut costs.

    lets see what the fia does or the economy is going to help them make the decision.

    unless they want to move all the races to bahrain and saudi arabia………

  20. Since the Canadians are keen to bring their GP back, instead of France they put Canada back.. Simple..

  21. The Canadian organizers has stated that there will be no race in Montreal next year no matter what. The decision has been taken, and that’s it.

    It’s weird if they gonna have another 3 week gap in the calendar during the summer. It’s bad for the sport. If this is indeed the crown jewel of motorsport, then organizers should be lining up to get it. But I’m not sure were to put it with only 8 months notice. One solution is to have both Hockenheim and Nurburgring next year. Or maybe have a race in Jerez or – Algarve… :)

  22. @sven duva,

    the algarve sounds fine. on the new circuit. then we hava finally a new circuit who isn’t designed by herman Tilke:D

  23. I shan’t miss Magny Cours by any stretch of the imagination. But I shall miss a French GP.

  24. With the French GP being cancelled I think and hope that means the Canadian GP will be brought back now… fingers crossed.

  25. I think It’s that leettle weasall berneee wanting to squeezeout every last frank from zi Franch, and zi franch federation will nout allouw iit.

    that’s a little more chance for portugal i guess

  26. Not the greatest of losses imo, and maybe this will bring back the Canadian GP which is a great track

  27. I was just reading about the algarve circuit and at short notice it would seem to be a great addition to the grand prix circuit – has anyone thought of the french and germans clubbing together to jointly run one of the 2 german grand prix’s – I know they were enemies once – but it might work out?

  28. It’s all gone a bit bonjour

  29. Certainly not the greatest of tracks to watch your Formula 1.Now i hope Canada returns.I dont see Portugal
    hosting a F1 GP till 2010.

  30. Won’t miss the track but it’s a shame if there’s to be no French GP from 2009.

    Looks like Bernie’s dream is becoming a reality, give it a few years & we’ll be down to Monaco, Valencia & Hungary as the only European GP’s on the calender freeing up lots of space for Mr Tilke’s Asian & Middle Eastern tracks.

  31. Beneboy, you are correct I believe in your direction, but don’t forget Barcelona- as long as Fernando is racing and Bernie is running the commercial side, Spain will always have two grands prix on the schedule. And Barcelona is probably one of Bernie’s favorite tracks for a number of reasons….

    – It always sells out with a partisan crowd in support of their hero
    -It is a track where qualifying pace is the key to victory, meaning the powerhouse teams have an advantage and a win for the front-running teams is almost assured.
    – There is little chance of rain messing up qualifying or race day, meaning the fastest cars (normally from the top teams) are alomost assured of locking out the podium- no chance of Rubens and his Honda guys “pulling a Silverstone” and getitng the spotlight here!!

    On a final note here, I really hope the French GP comes back- it has an important place in F1 history and taking it away just makes the eastward shift all the more relavent. And lastly, I am sure this will come off as corny, but I did enjoy the unique blue and green color scheme of the tire barriers in the background of most Magny-Cours footage, so perhaps ther eis something good about the place.

  32. A strong democracy, can’t really come out to fund a grandprix for some rich boys to come play with their toys. Gate takings alone are not enough to fund a race track especially with Bernie getting greedier everyday. I doubt many of the Venues or even any, run at a profit.
    FOM, Bambino, CVC or whatever they are called will have to become more reasonable. Countries will have to weigh the relevance of spending hundreds of millions on tracks when they have social issues to take care of.

  33. Michael Ignov
    16th October 2008, 22:11

    I don’t think I’d be shocked if 15 out of all races would be held in UAE, and East Asia, 2 for Singapore :)

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