Monaco and Le Mans competition no concern for French GP promoter

2018 French Grand Prix

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The promoter of the French Grand Prix is not concerned that hosting their region’s third big race within four weeks will affect ticket sales.

The Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and French Grand Prix take place within four weeks of each other this year. F1 races in Monaco on May 28th, Le Mans is on June 16-17th and the French Grand Prix takes place on June 24th.

Start, Le Mans 24 Hours,. 2017
Le Mans is one week before the French Grand Prix
French Grand Prix director of marketing Aurélie Letellier told F1 Fanatic they are “really happy” with their date on the 2018 F1 calendar. “It’s a good date for us, obviously every date comes with pros and cons, we have some competition around.”

Paul Ricard and Monaco are the two closest venues on the 2018 schedule, less than 150 kilometres apart. But Letellier doubts the two will be competing for the same ticket sales.

“It’s not just Monaco benefitting from the race in Monaco, it’s all the surrounding area. For the region its great news, actually, that in that period we can attract that many people. I’m not sure I have to fear really that people think ‘oh no, it’s just one month after Monaco, I will go to Monaco and not Le Castellet’.”

For its return to the F1 schedule this year the French Grand Prix promoters requested a date in either early or late summer.

“We didn’t explicitly ask for this [date], but we asked for the margins of the summer really because summer is peak season for us in the region,” Letellier explained. “Anything between 15th July and 15th August would have been very complicated to stage operationally, it would have posed a number of challenges.”

“It was important for us to be on the margin and extend a little bit, thinking about benefiting an entire region. For local stakeholders it was important to extend the summer season either before or after. Earlier than 15th of July that was our preference, rather than going into autumn.”

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Although a late summer date would have moved the race further away from Monaco and Le Mans, competition from other races meant that couldn’t be achieved this year.

“We have been having extensive discussions with other promoters and we know how complicated those discussions are. Some grands prix are set already at specific dates, we know there is Spa at the end of August. It would have caused another problem as well.”

“We are happy with what we have now, let’s see how that first edition goes, let’s see if Formula One Management wants the calendar that way. But with Spa and Monza being pretty much set at the dates they are set I think being the first grand prix to kick off the comeback to the European continent is quite an advantageous position.”

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10 comments on “Monaco and Le Mans competition no concern for French GP promoter”

  1. Bet he wishes they could get even half the crowd Le Mans does.

    Then again, facilities were never Bernie’s concern at the best of times.

    Corporate facilities, yes, but SPECTATOR facilities ….

    1. Given that Paul Ricard has mostly operated as a test track for nearly 20 years now, it’s not really surprising that they wouldn’t have spent a lot on spectator facilities that would not have been used during private test sessions closed to the public.

      1. According to Google Earth the Circuit de la Sarthe is almost across the main road from the Guetteloup Pole Sante Sud tram stop. I followed the tram line until it terminated at the Espalarche de la Nature tram station, which is 5 km away from the race track. So if one had a hotel in that area you could then take the tram to the race track, and walk from there. It would certainly be cheaper than a taxi fare from Marseille to the Circuit Automobile Paul Ricard.

    2. I’m not sure there’s enough accommodation for Paul Ricard to have half of Le Mans’ audience unless they opted for a very late autumn or very early spring date (F1 doesn’t do winter races). That would not so much extend the season as attempt to create a whole new one…

  2. The Monaco GP r will take place on the 27th of May, not 28th.
    “Anything between 15th July and 15th August would have been very complicated to stage operationally, it would have posed a number of challenges.” – How exactly would hosting the French GP at Paul Ricard Circuit between those two days be more complicated than before the former or after the latter date mentioned above?

    1. I think he means logistics – traffic and such, by him saying that between those two dates are the peak in the region.

      1. @telvee32 Good point. That could very well be it.

  3. Guys, isn’t it sad that we’ve got 2 articles next to each other: one is about an abundance of huge motorsport events in France, and the other about Great Britain probably losing its sole F1 Grand Prix?

    1. The issue with the British GP has always been cost and the pretty much FOM mandated upgrades to the track and facility to support the GP. It has been always that way since at least I started to take in F1. It’s been the same thing with the German GP as well, and I’m sure that the list can keep going and going.

      I would have a feeling that here in a few years we will be having the same discussion about the French GP and costs associated with it as well. At least LeMan’s has an established infrastructure and a ton of support, not just the local economy but from the fans and teams. Not to mention that LeMan’s and the entire event goes on for a long while beginning with testing there months before the actual race so the local economy has something to benefit from the race there. The French GP won’t get that real kind of return on investment since the teams start to show up on the Tuesday before and are gone by Monday afternoon.

  4. “It’s all the surrounding area” (benefitting from the Monaco event) says the promototer which is funny because they’re not even allowed in even if you’re a local!

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