Paul Ricard circuit names new director

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In the round-up: The Paul Ricard circuit, which is expected to return to F1 in 2013, has a new director.


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St??phane Clair, called at the head of the Paul Ricard Circuit (Paul Ricard)

“From September 26th 2011, St??phane Clair will be the new director of the Paul Ricard Circuit.”

F1 accused’s lawyers want case dropped (FT, registration required)

“Brussow and Petri, a Cologne law firm representing Mr Gribkowsky, said on Wednesday that state prosecutors had acted improperly in presenting a one-sided and ‘far-fetched’ case against the 53-year-old banker, leaving parts out of some witness statements and not questioning ‘other important English and Italian witnesses… who helped to arrange the payments to Mr Gribkowsky’.”

Vitaly Petrov Video Interview (YouTube)

Virtual lap of the new Baltimore Grand Prix Circuit (YouTube)

The new street circuit IndyCar will be racing on this Sunday:

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38 comments on “Paul Ricard circuit names new director”

  1. So does Paul Ricard retain the HTTT part of it’s full name when the GP returns? Test track seems redundant when it becomes a grade one GP track.

    1. I imagine it would just be known as “Circuit Paul Ricard”.

    2. But they have other races there already and did not change it, so I think they might stick with that subtitle!

      Funny that.

  2. Another new indy street track??

    The ratio of road courses with the indy car series seems odd, they seem to be racing on street tracks a lot more than purpose built facilities (Im not referring to ovals here either)

    Im not even a huge fan of the sport but off the top of my head i can remember them racing at St Petersberg, Sau Paulo, Toronto, Long Beach, Endmonson (though i guess thats an airport, as is half of St Pete, still are temporary tracks) and the only purpose built one i remember is Birmingham, i know there are 1 or two more though, Motegi maybe.

    Its like they all go and trip over each other on tiny narrow pokey street tracks, toronto was pretty much a joke in terms of spins and contact, and yet they dont race at Leguna Seca, Watkins Glen, Curcuit De Gille Villenerve, Road america or Sebring.

    It really seems odd if im honest.

    1. America has some great circuits and they don’t even bother using them. A waste.

    2. They raced last weekend at Infineon/Sears Point. Road America is rumored to replace the Milwaukee oval race. Montreal could come back.

    3. I’m a big fan of the series but it is still on it’s recovery from the split and with street courses being so close to a population the draw is usually much better. It’s also some of the track’s fault. Indycar can’t just decide to go there.

      Road America is rumored to be coming back. (My dad knows the president and he has been very confident in it) The Glen was dropped because it is owned by NASCAR. Laguna would be great as would Portland but we still need the series to grow a bit more.

      Give it a couple years and I think you’ll see the return to historic tracks. The series needs to grow still. It has been in shambles since the split.

      1. I guess big part of it is really the fact the tracks that are owned by NASCAR are off limits more or less by default.

        And as you say, street courses are a nice way to get close to the public and get an actual crowd to visit until they regain a solid fanbase again for Indycar.

    4. Another new indy street track??

      They were angling for two this year, with one in Baltimore and another in Oklahoma City, but Oklahoma turned it down.

    5. First of all I want to say that looks like a pretty good circuit, gives me an excuse to visit Maryland again one day.

      The way the number of street and road courses is now rivalling the ovals can only be a good thing in my eyes. Every time you mention American racing, you get snides of “they only turn left”. Having a greater amount of street circuits as well as ovals only serves to make the series even more distinct, as opposed to its two direct rivals NASCAR and F1.

      It might not be a case of Indy not wanting to go to purpose-built tracks; we just had a race at the glorious Infineon raceway after all. If cities are willing to put up tracks for IndyCar, maybe it’s the circuits themselves who aren’t yet ready to risk the investment yet until IndyCar makes up more ground on NASCAR and/or times get better on the money front.

      Really sad we’ll be losing Milwaukee though, before I started getting into IndyCar the Milwaukee Mile was one of the few tracks I could name and has a pretty long history. Hopefully COTA will get on the calendar one day.

    6. Indycar needs to ditch half the road and street courses it has used this year, the racing has been dire on them Bring back more ovals.

  3. Nice to see an accurate video of the track, but that commentary was insufferable. It’s imperative that you watch it.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      1st September 2011, 8:32

      Not sure if it’s entirely accurate. In the very last section, the street/track appears to be lined with low-level armco with lines of spectators standing right behind it . . .

      1. I do indeed hope it’s safer then this video shows us.
        Else we are going to see bad crashes. Looks inevitable tough.

    2. Oh, yes is’t imperatively the right line of thought :-D

      1. “…is a 2-mile street course, with no banking throughout the course, or any of its 12 turns.”

        You don’t say. I particularly like how “throughout the course” wasn’t enough to convince people that there wouldn’t be banking, so they said the same thing again.

    3. It’s an excellent track with straights!

      So the pits are not on the S/F straight? Would be nice to see that in F1 some day.

  4. My mind boggles at why so many people want more street circuits in F1. There is only one classic street circuit in the world and that is Monaco.

    When I come to power, all street circuits except Monaco shall be banned and I shall create a museum called “Streets Circuits: A Boredom from History”.

    1. You should go to the Long Beach GP. May not be the prestige and glamour of Monaco but it is quite the party from what I’ve heard.

    2. I guess you’ve never seen a race at Adelaide then. Or Long Beach for that matter.

    3. Techincally we have Melbourne and Montreal that are street circuits, and they are awesome!

    4. But the idea of a street circuit its that its highly accessible, something plenty of the current circuits suffer from.

  5. So, I saw the new calendar today, and I just had a crazy idea.

    Bernie and the WMSC lost a lot of good faith when they reinstated the Bahrain Grand Prix for 2011. So I was wondering – how could they get it back and show that it’s not all about the money?

    The answer is simple: hold a one-off race for free.

    And that’s not the crazy part. This is the crazy part: hold it in Libya.

    During the heyday of pre-war Grand Prix motor racing, one of the most popular events on the calendar was the Tripoli Grand Prix. At the time, the western half of Libya was a colony of Italy, and the Tripoli Grand Prix was born out of the Italians’ love for motorsport. The race was one of the richest on the calendar, and the Mellaha Lake circuit even had starting lights (which, in 1933, was a massive innovation). The race was discontinued after 1940, and was never revived after the war; today, the Mellaha Lake site is Tripoli’s airport.

    Now, Libya is volatile at the moment. The National Transitional Council control 95% of the country, and have given the Qaddafi loyalists in Sirte until this weekend to surrender or the town will be taken by force. The Qaddafis themselves have fled to Algeria (though Muammar remains unaccounted for). The NTC want a democratic Libya, and the West will no doubt support their efforts to do so. When you think about it, a one-off race once the country has stabilised is no such a bad idea.

    First of all, it would be the revival of an even the British Grand Prix. Secondly, even though Mellaha Lake has been destroyed, the airport would be able to handle Formula 1 cars so there is no need to build a new circuit. Thirdly, Formula 1 is a major international event, so if the sport insists on getting involved in local politics the way it did with Bahrain, it would be an endorsement of a democratic Libya. And if the whole thing was done for free – maybe staged as some kind of pre-season non-championship race – it would massively improve Bernie’s goodwill.

      1. My same reaction ;)

    1. As long as the country properly settles it would actually be a good idea. Unfortunately the likelihood that there will be no aftermath of resistance from the ex-Gaddafi troops is unlikely. But one free, non/pre-championship race, perhaps run to the previous seasons rules is a nice idea, and it is something that could change venues every year. The trouble is that actively choosing Libya is a very bold political statement. It may be a sign of goodwill, but if a regime in one African country is replaced by another then that country wouldn’t be chosen, and then you get into a complicated situation regarding what countries are fit to hold a race.

      1. The trouble is that actively choosing Libya is a very bold political statement. It may be a sign of goodwill, but if a regime in one African country is replaced by another then that country wouldn’t be chosen

        Of course. That’s why you only do it when you’re confident that Libya is well and truly on the road to democracy.

        1. But that is exactly the trouble. It means F1 actively advocates democracy. I don’t think that is a terrible idea, but it is a political minefield, and wouldn’t cast China in a good light, nor Bahrain even if the country stabilised and they were proven to have stopped committing human rights violations.

          Generally though I like the idea of a single free GP being given to poorer/less well off countries. Shame it’ll never happen, even though it would cast F1 in a favourable light and assess interest in each country.

    2. Erm… no

    3. Sometimes I – mostly reading comments, every now and then making one – think you’re just a querrelant…
      …but I do like it when you’re proposing outrageous ideas like this one. Hats off to you PM, sincerely

  6. Doesn’t Bernie own Circuit Paul Ricard? I seem to think he does for some reason

    1. Yeah he does, he has used it to test out things like TecPro barriers etc. It’s meant to be the safest circuit in the world or soemthing like that

  7. Interesting how just about every week we still get new snippets of information about that Bernie/Gribowsky/CVC/BayerischeLB/Kirsch are coming up.

    Is it possible its someone rich and powerfull in Germany pushing to uncover facts so they can claim a few hundred million from Bernie?

    In any case it is a bit of a mess.

  8. And does anybody know on which of its several configuation is the race going to be held at the Ricard yet?

    1. I, of course, prefer the classic one on which F1 raced until Elio de Angelis’ death with the whole Mistral Straight available.

      1. Yes, I agree, hopefully they don’t choose the boring short track.

  9. So, might this be the reason why Ricciardo is at HRT and not at STR?

    And making French/Swiss driver Grosjean one of the drivers they might be thinking about.

  10. Really now, even FIA GT looks boring on Paul Ricard. When F1 shows up there I’ll propably fall asleep.

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