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GP Week : Issue 47
> F1NEWS> Ricard: We want French GP! CIRCUIT Paul Ricard has thrown its hat into the ring as a potential new base for the French Grand Prix. The track, which last hosted the French Grand Prix in 1990, has in recent years been reborn as a High Tech Test Track, but announced its intention to tender for the French Grand Prix once again over the Monaco weekend. “We have decided to think seriously about what needs to be done to welcome a Formula 1 Grand Prix,”said Paul Ricard Director Gerard Neveu. “Every time the French Grand Prix has had problems, people, media, drivers have asked; ‘why not at the Paul Ricard circuit?’Up to now, we did not want, nor had a good reason to realise such a race. Nevertheless, our circuit does have Degree 1 FIA track homologation, which allows us, technically speaking, to welcome an F1 GP. Furthermore, we have re-opened the Paul Ricard circuit to visitors this year, and the public did a very warm welcome to this initiative, this also gives us the right to think, it could be an idea.” Circuit Paul Ricard has recently built grandstands to welcome fans back to the circuit, and as rival bids for the French Grand Prix encounter difficulties. Paul Ricard believes that it could be the answer to the problem. “During last winter we built grandstands on our circuit, and re-opened this mythical place to visitors. During the first events this year, the new grandstands were full, and it was a great success. This also made us think about the evolution of racing on our track. “Projects of new circuits in France seem to have encountered some difficulties. As of today, thanks to the great success we had, as well for competitors and for visitors, and after the numerous solicitations here and there, it became right for us to think our circuit could be a solution. Therefore we started to think on what we would need to do, to welcome a GP.” The circuit’s reinvention was the brain- child of F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, who holds the ultimate decision-making power as to where the F1 World Championship races. The track’s rebirth was overseen by Philippe Gurdjian, who has recently moved his attentions to the new Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.