French GP is ‘part of our DNA and clearly deserves a place on the calendar’ – Gasly

2022 French Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly says he “tried to enjoy every second” of last week’s French Grand Prix, which is expected to be the last for the foreseeable future.

The Paul Ricard circuit does not have a deal to hold a round on the 2023 Formula 1 calendar.

Gasly, one of two French drivers in F1, said he was “quite emotional to see all these French flags out there” on the drivers’ parade before Sunday’s race.

“It’s the first time for me I see a French Grand Prix like that,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “It’s the first time I get to experience it properly since I won as well in Monza.”

He said there was visibly “a lot more support” at the 2022 event compared to last year. “You can really see people are excited about Formula 1 in this country.”

Despite AlphaTauri bringing a package of upgrades to his home race Gasly endured a disappointing weekend. He finished 12th after qualifying 16th but he said the support “made the day slightly better.”

“Hopefully we’re going to have a French Grand Prix if not the next year, the year after because I feel like clearly it deserves its place in the calendar,” he added.

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France has a long history of motorsport. It held the pioneering 1894 Paris-Rouen Horseless Carriages Contest and, soon after, the first event to carry the title ‘grand prix’. “It’s part of our DNA and it’s been always there,” said Gasly.

“We have Alpine, we have two French drivers – two and a half with Charles [Leclerc]. I really feel if it’s not on this track, hopefully we can find a solution on another track.”

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi remains hopeful a way will be found to put the French Grand Prix on the calendar in 2023. “I don’t know that it is not on the calendar next year,” he said.

“But yes, I would be very disappointed. And I’m not talking about it as the manager of a French team, or even as a French citizen.

“It’s more I think France is a racing stronghold,” Rossi explained. “It’s been giving a lot to the sport. It has a big audience, a big fanbase. I think it would be a little bit kind of unfair, to remove a big milestone like the French Grand Prix from the calendar.

“I think it would be odd but I’m hoping that it will stay.”

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2022 French Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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25 comments on “French GP is ‘part of our DNA and clearly deserves a place on the calendar’ – Gasly”

  1. Welcome to ‘Project Liberty Media’

  2. I get the French drivers lamenting the loss of their home race.

    I won’t miss Circuit Paul Ricard on the calendar.

    1. I share your feelings. That particular circuit just doesn’t excite me, and those painted lines look terrible and detract from the visual spectacle. But it seems strange that the country which gave us the phrase “Grand Prix” will no longer host an F1 race. Here is a bit of trivia. The very first GP in 1906 was won by a Hungarian driver, Ferenc Szisz, driving a Renault. This was just 20 years after the first working cars had been built, so still very early in the brief history of the motor car. His top speed was 96mph (over 150kph). More than a hundred years later and like the vast majority of people who never driven on a race track, only public roads, I have never driven a car as fast as Szisz drove in that first GP.

    2. @proesterchen Agree

      I don’t care if French GP goes away, the last race was similar to Austria: crap with lack of driver or car challenge.
      Biggest problem with Paul Ricard that its too boring, soulless with most of the track devoid of spectators plus generic car park design doesn’t challenge drivers or F1 machinery, it is more suited to lower class endurance racing rather than F1.

      Liberty media also want to move to street circuits because they can charge more host fees to race organisers as they make more profit as the claustrophobic track layout allow fore more advertising boards and the nasty looking superimposed cgi overlays also opens up more money making opportunities by customizing adverts for each region.

      It would be great if Liberty brought back the Pacific GP and had a second race in Japan at the excellent Fuji speedway but that will never happen because the track is owned by Toyota who are heavily invested in WEC plus like I just said Liberty want to move to more mad max street circuits..

  3. If F1 stays in France it needs to make some changes. Either use the full straight or move somewhere else. Preferably Le Mans (not going to happen). I’d take Magny Cours back. Just not Paul Ricard, which has shown in four races now – it isn’t a good fit for current F1.

    1. I don’t understand the aversion to Bugatti, other than it being in the shade of the full La Sarthe.

      Hairpins alone should breed some divebombs. Anything other than Ricard.

  4. Nonsense. Who needs a ‘Grand Prix’ in France when we can have one in places like Miami, Las Vegas and Saudi Arabia. Anyone would think they started them!

    (Paul Ricard as a home is not helping though!)

    1. You noticed they are talking about the French GP not over Paul Richard…..

      Paul has to go to testing and if there is no good replacement Spa can be the french GP too…. and the Belgian after the summer break so twice!

  5. Watching the race on TV, Paul Ricard is a horrible circuit.

    Those stripes are migraine-inducing, and remind me of 8 bit videogames from the 80s, where the programmers didn’t have enough memory left to create scenery.

    Putting that to one side, it drew a capacity crowd, so clearly France is worthy of an annual F1 race.

    1. I totally agree and i prefer any normal track than street circuits even though there are other tracks in France that f1 can run.

    2. @sonnycrockett I think your right about the visuals.

      To me, I don’t think the race would have been bad if it hadn’t had all those awful painted stripes. They just clouds the whole event and make it almost unwatchable.

      The other thing that is destroying races these days is DRS. It just seemed that as soon as it was available, most drivers just sat back and waited till they got to the straights before making any attempt to pass and then, when they found they couldn’t, just backed off about 2 sec from the car ahead.

  6. I mean France never left the calendar but I get what they mean. The French GP does not have a Monza or Silverstone vibe.

  7. Paul Ricard really isn’t a great track so I wouldn’t be too upset to lose it from the calendar. Magny-Cours is better, although still not among the best, but I would like to see it back over another city street track. But originally the French Grand Prix was held on public roads, specifically at Reims-Gueux, Rouen-Les-Essarts or Clermont-Ferrand over the 1950s and 1960s but there were more before then. I think that if the necessary safety requirements could be met (which would be very difficult and certainly the main drawback), a modern Grand Prix on public roads in the French countryside would be an absolutely brilliant and unique addition to the calendar, although of course it still doesn’t really fit with Liberty Media’s vision of SuperBowl events in major cities.

  8. I would like Magny Cours back. It should not be worse than Zandvoort. At least circuits like these are fun and the cars are in their natural habitat doing what they do better than anything else, drive blisteringly quickly through winding corners.
    And then there are tracks like Baku or Singapore with their 90 degree boredom. Sure, they are a challenge in their own right but they just do not feel like F1 tracks to me, especially considering how sluggish the current cars are through the slower corners.

    1. Yes, not looking forward to Singapore, hate the night races there. Unlike Saudi everything always looks looks dark, lap is too long and the bumpy 90 degree corner after corner isn’t exciting to watch. The organisers should at least shorten the lap and have the race earlier in the day because the night race gimmick back in 2008 was impressive but we have multiple night races now.

      Also the typical propaganda with the hosts gushing over how beautiful the clean the quasi-fascist city state utopia is gets boring very quickly.

      1. It is very clean though, I have been. There’s no loutish behaviour and you literally get arrested if you drop litter, which is something I think we should embrace in the UK. I quite like the circuit, I agree it’s a little long but it’s a good race of attrition and does force mistakes.

  9. I do miss Kuwait GP though, and it’s paining me to wait for 2023. for the return of Qatar. Too bad the situation in Yemen and Oman isn’t ideal (but Oman could do). Well, we could have two races in S. Arabia at least, until the rest of Middle East calms down a bit (that is, until S. Arabia stops bombing them, in league with U.A.E. etc., which of course doesn’t mean that they should lose their spots on the calendar).
    I propose a brave new idea. We could build a circuit around an oil platform, the Persian Gulf GP. We could use real yachts, not that Miami nonsense. Why would countries with any actual tradition or interest in the sport have their Grand Prix’? France, Germany, dare I say Finland?

  10. I agree France should have a Grand Prix and is more deserving than someplace like Los Vegas or Miami, but France needs a world-class Grade 1 circuit. Paul Ricard and Magny Cours just don’t suit themselves to interesting races. If France wants to have a French Grand Prix, they need to build a new track that is exciting. The Nice street circuit idea that has been floated in recent years is the opposite of that, even if they could even get it off the ground with Monaco being so close by.

  11. Countries that should always have a Grand Prix every year:

    Great Britain
    Belgium (because Spa)
    Italy (and happy to have San Marino as well to get Imola on the calendar)
    Germany (Hockenheim or Nürburgring)
    USA (1 race, at COTA)
    The Netherlands

    There is no need for more than one round in the USA.
    I’d be quite happy if there were no rounds in the Middle East either.

    Formula 1 may be a World Championship, but it’s based in Europe and always will be. Liberty Media need to remember that

    1. David, whilst I know this is heresy, I’d rather not see a GP at Monaco. I find it so dull as an F1 race and don’t really see how that will ever improve. The streets are just too narrow. I know the drivers love the challenge of a flying lap, but a two hour race doesn’t switch me on. I’d rather see them make that weekend an F1 Festival or something, maybe have a shorter format for the F1 race, or two races with a reverse grid, or give the F1 drivers a flying lap competition and give the reserve drivers and the bottom scoring F1 drivers a shorter-format race. It could still be a televised event, it could still be the place that the rich and famous go to be seen and the TV companies fawn over, but don’t award WDC/WCC points for that weekend so that teams can safely agree to trying out different ideas.

      As for the other countries you listed, I don’t think anyone will ever agree on which countries they should be. What were your criteria for choosing them? The Netherlands, for instance, why? It was showing little interest in F1 prior to Verstappen Junior coming along. I’m not sure any country deserves to be guaranteed a GP, but I think it should be related to the amount of motorsport activity in the country. For instance, right now GB has several active circuits and numerous race events each weekend, it has a healthy grass roots in motorsport, and is the home to a lot of F1 teams, so it is appropriate that it should host a GP. However, in the past, F1 has gone to circuits where they dusted the track off, ran the F1 event, and then mothballed it again for another year. One example of that is the Hungaroring, and the races there used to be so boring because there was so much dust on the circuit that no-one ever had any grip and no-one could overtake. So I am curious as to why, from your perspective, Hungary should always have a GP? Please don’t think I am attacking your choice, just highlighting that we all see circuits in different ways.

      1. @AlanD

        As for the other countries you listed, I don’t think anyone will ever agree on which countries they should be. What were your criteria for choosing them? The Netherlands, for instance, why? It was showing little interest in F1 prior to Verstappen Junior coming along. I’m not sure any country deserves to be guaranteed a GP, but I think it should be related to the amount of motorsport activity in the country.

        Well, my reasoning was that Zandvoort hosted an F1 round most years from 1950 through to 1985, therefore I feel it qualifies as a “traditional” circuit. Plus, it’s European and therefore the standard race start times more closely match local time for where I am. I am not a fan of either twilight or night races, these are just gimmicks in my opinion to disguise the fact that the circuits in question are just forgettable Tilke-dromes.

        Mexico I will concede has less history, but was still a previous round holder from 1986-1992, and has been back on the calendar since 2015.

    2. Agree with all of these accept the last two. Happy for the Netherlands to host a race whilst Max in around. I have never been a fan of the Mexico circuit and it’s not a long-standing event compared to some.

      The U.S. is a big country and I don’t mind it hosting two races. That really should be the limit though.

      1. Norman: “The U.S. is a big country and I don’t mind it hosting two races. That really should be the limit though.”

        I agree with you, but I am also thinking how GPs used to be named after the country, “the British GP” etc, until we had the strange situation where we started having a European GP to disguise the fact that one country had two GPs. And then it occurred to me that we’d never say “The US is a big country so we’ve let it have two teams in the Football World Cup”, for example. There isn’t really a rational reason for a country to have two GPs, only commercial ones.

        By the way, I hated the name of “Styrian GP”. I know the global complications of covid meant some countries needed to double up that season, but honestly, how many people had even heard of Styria before that race? Imagine if we’d had the British Grand Prix and the Essex Prix, for example.

  12. I don’t know whose order it was but they were showing a lot of that tricolore. I felt like in every lap you could see fans waving them and it was the same in F2. It seemed like there were a lot of flag sellers or every french guy/woman has a national flag with them everywhere they go

  13. Something has to give way, so Gasly, Ocon, & Rossi will eventually need to accept an inevitable fate.

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