July 20 (Reuters) - France’s Socialist government has asked the country’s motorsport federation to look into the possibility of holding a Formula One Grand Prix at the Magny-Cours circuit that hosted the race before it fell off the calendar.
The French Federation (FFSA) said on Friday that Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron had asked for a report on the technical, financial and legal conditions that would allow a prix to be organised at Magny Cours or Le Castellet.
Magny-Cours, a circuit in the heart of rural France, fell out of favour with sponsors and Formula One authorities due to its remoteness and lack of nearby hotels. It last hosted a grand prix in 2008.
Le Castellet, a track in the south of France owned by a family trust set up by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, was the favoured choice of the previous government and terms were agreed earlier this year before the change of administration.
The FFSA said it had contacted Formula One’s commercial rights holder and had been assured that there was a full agreement for a return to the calendar at one of the two circuits.
That could be either permanently or an an alternate basis, sharing with another race such as Belgium’s Spa.
Germany’s two races already alternate, although there is now uncertainty over the Nuerburgring’s future with that circuit set to file for insolvency.
Representatives of Magny-Cours and Le Castellet have been contacted and asked to provide budget forecasts by the beginning of September, said the FFSA.
It added that the forecasts must highlight the “local financial set-up as well as the economical spinoffs further to an F1 event on both the local and national level.”
”Based on the elements supplied by the respective project leaders of each circuit...the FFSA will send its report to the Sports Minister mid-September.
“The economic feasibility of promoting a grand prix on one of the two circuits will be measured by this report and is the most important condition for the return of Formula One in France,” said the FFSA. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Alastair Himmer)