Formula One

Alesi: French ‘politics’ responsible for demise of French GP


New Paul Ricard track president Jean Alesi will pull out all the stops to put the French Grand Prix back on F1’s calendar, insisting that “politics” are to blame for the race’s exit.

From 2018 to 2022, French F1 fans enjoyed four consecutive races at the Circuit Paul Ricard, with last year’s final edition benefitting from a popular attendance.

Yet Formula 1 opted not to renew the event’s contract, a move that made way on the sport’s agenda for more lucrative races, such as Las Vegas and Qatar.

But Alesi dismisses Formula 1’s snub and blames France’s lack of impetus and politics for the demise of the country’s showcase F1 event.

“The problem with Formula 1 in France is not with the circuit, it’s with the politics,” the former Ferrari stalwart told

“It’s probably the only F1 Grand Prix that’s never had a president come to watch it – except for at Magny-Cours once, when [Francois] Mitterrand attended as part of his political wish for the race to be there.

“Since then, it’s never happened. The problem is not with the circuit; the problem is the wish of the country. My other job is a Formula 1 Ambassador, so my link to F1 is direct – with no bullshit – and they are very clear about that.

“F1 has probably 32 countries in the world right now asking to host F1 races. The last Grand Prix we had here, last year, was very, very popular with the people. So it’s a shame to lose it.”

As the birthplace of Grand Prix racing, France holds a historic place in motorsport’s history, which only adds to the frustration of seeing its event fall off the calendar.

But Alesi is determined to move heaven and earth to bring F1 back to Paul Ricard, and that means lobbying President Emmanuel Macron himself.

“Having a French GP looks good on the F1 calendar, but if we don’t have the possibility to do it, then that’s because the country is not interested in motorsport, and that is a big shame,” added the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix winner.

“It’s not a problem for F1 to have a Grand Prix in France, the blame is on France.

“Of course, part of my new role will be to send a letter, to request a meeting with the president of France, but I don’t know if this will happen.

“If it happens, and we can get the French GP back, I would be the happiest man in the world!

“With Alpine and Renault, they are very strong in F1 right now. But it’s not because of France, it’s because F1 is very strong.

“If I go to Elysee and speak with Macron, it would be much more useful than lobbying anyone else.”

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Alesi: French ‘politics’ responsible for demise of French GP

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