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GP Week : Issue 150
As the French people took to the polls for the first round of voting in their national elections, Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that the French Grand Prix would be returning to the Formula One calendar in 2013. In an arrangement that has caused heartache among F1 fans, for whom the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit is one of the most beloved on the calendar, the Formula One supremo confirmed that rumours of alternation deal between France and Belgium were bang on target. “We have a deal,” Ecclestone told French newspaper L'Equipe. “We agreed on the financial terms with the sports minister, David Douillet, who visited me on Tuesday. “We are just discussing a few money details related to the race: ‘You give me this, I want that’. But – for me – there is no doubt, we will sign it now.” While the deal has yet to be formally signed, Ecclestone was confident that the outcome of the presidential elections would not affect the race, which will be held at the Paul Ricard Circuit. “Whatever happens [in the voting booth], I don't care,” Ecclestone said. “That's a domestic issue that doesn't concern me.” Reports in the French media suggest that the final sticking point in negotiations surrounds the race hosting fee, with the organisers of the grand prix hoping to negotiate a €2 million reduction on the amount named by Ecclestone. Given the 82-year-old’s hard-line negotiating stance, it is unlikely that the hosts will get their wish. JE REVIENS Ecclestone conf irms French GP on 2013 calendar Formula One is set to return to Paul Ricard in 2013 3 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS