Formula 1’s two French drivers fear their home race will lose its place on next year’s calendar.
However Esteban Ocon is hopeful the French Grand Prix might be saved by a plan under which some European circuits would pair up and share calendar slots. The French round could therefore continue to appear on the calendar every two years.
Next month’s race at Paul Ricard is the venue’s last in its current deal. Ocon says he’s “following the conversations” around whether F1 will return to the track in the future.
The situation “doesn’t look too nice,” Ocon admitted. “It is disappointing.
“I’ve been living in my young career where the grand prix was not there, then it came back, I’ve been very lucky and very fortunate to race there. We have it this year and we are going to enjoy it to the fullest, that’s clear.”
He said the possibility of calendar slots rotating between different venues could be “good news” for the French Grand Prix and other long-running European rounds.
“I think there are countries that we need to race in France is part of that. Belgium is part of that, Monaco is part of that. We should keep these races that are special to us.”
Fellow French driver Pierre Gasly said the potential loss of their home race was “a big concern” for him.
“I’m involved in the talks, I know what’s the current situation and obviously I’ll do anything which is in my hands and my power to support them,” he said.
“At the end of the day I’m not the one putting the money on the table. It’s always related to political and financial reasons.
“But I hope they can find an agreement because being French, I’m not the only one, Esteban is also in the paddock, Alpine is also in the paddock, I do feel French is clearly part of the sport and the history of the sport.
“It will be clearly sad not to have a home race in the next years but I’m quite confident they’re going to find an agreement.”
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