Drivers’ consensus on French GP place on the F1 calendar

Several drivers offer their take on which race they'd rather see dropped between the French and Belgian Grand Prix

-

The Circuit Paul Ricard‘s place on the Formula 1 calendar appears to be hanging by a thread, but if today’s press conference is anything to go by, it won’t be missed too dearly by the grid.

With the Qatar and Las Vegas Grand Prix announced for 2023, and the return of the Chinese Grand Prix, one circuit needs to be dropped from the F1 calendar. With the Paul Ricard and Spa-Francorchamps contracts expiring this year, one or both of these circuits is likely to be axed.

There is a high possibility that both may still miss out, as the return of the South African Grand Prix has also been mooted. Given the scenario, the organisers of the French Grand Prix are reportedly attempting to strike a deal with their Belgian counterparts to alternate between the two races.

Asked in the pre-race press conference ahead of the 2022 French Grand Prix whether the drivers would prefer the French Grand Prix instead of Spa, there was a resounding answer.

“Spa, because the track is amazing, it’d be a shame to lose it,” said Sebastian Vettel.

“In fairness this track is not so exciting, I don’t think many drivers are fans at least behind the camera”

Vettel along with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton are two of the only drivers on the grid who raced at Magny-Cours in F1, with the circuit in central France hosting its last Grand Prix in 2008.

And he wasn’t totally negative about the past or future of the French Grand Prix.

“I think the crowd has been a positive surprise. 2019 was amazing, the crowd and hearing the French anthem before the Grand Prix,” Vettel added.

“I expect a great race in this regard as well this year so that’d be a shame but maybe we can move it to another place in France that’s exciting.”

Drivers in agreement

Besides Zhou Guanyu, who hasn’t raced at either circuit in F1, the other three drivers in Thursday’s first press conference backed up Vettel‘s comments, most resoundingly Lando Norris.

“‘Spa, easy,” Norris said. “My mum’s from Belgium, I’m 50% Flemish, it’s as much a home race for me as it is to Silverstone in a way. Personally I’ve a lot of connections to it, I love the track and I grew up going to Belgium and spending a lot of time there with my family.’

Even Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who grew up close to the circuit, struggled to back it over the legendary Belgian circuit.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during practice for the 2021 French Grand Prix REUTERS/Yves Herman

He also celebrated a career breakout moment in his debut French Grand Prix in 2018, reaching Q3 for the first time at the venue.

“For the character of the track, Spa also for me, I prefer Spa as a track to here,” Leclerc said. “I don’t know, I started karting an hour away from here so it’s difficult.”

Nicholas Latifi echoed their thoughts, the Belgian Grand Prix was one of only two point scoring weekends for the Canadian last season and he added:

“Me, I have a lot of fun driving on Spa, more so than I do here, but that’s a personal preference.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Nick Cassidy in action at the 2024 London E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E 2024 LIVE: London E-Prix Finale – Cassidy on pole

0
Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com Formula E LIVE BLOG for Round 16 from the 2024 London E-Prix! This Sunday, we bring you real-time updates,...
Oscar Piastri in action at the 2024 Hungarian GP | McLaren

Oscar Piastri Takes Debut F1 Victory at Hungarian GP Amid McLaren Drama

0
Oscar Piastri has clinched his first-ever Formula 1 victory at the 2024 Hungarian GP, after a dramatic race filled...
Oscar Piastri of McLaren leads Lando Norris and Max Verstappen into Turn 1 at the start during the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix – Race Results

0
The 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix race weekend took us through the midpoint of the Formula 1 season, and Oscar Piastri took the chequered flag to...
Sergio Perez during practice ahead of the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 LIVE: 2024 Hungarian GP – Piastri wins after Norris finally follows team orders

0
Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com F1 Live Blog for the 2024 Hungarian GP! This Sunday, we bring you real-time updates,...
Lando Norris during practice at the 2024 Hungarian GP | McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris confident McLaren will win after bagging 2024 Hungarian GP pole

0
Lando Norris is confident McLaren will win the 2024 Hungarian GP, owing to their impressive performance in race simulations...
George Russell in action at the 2024 Hungarian GP | Mercedes

Angry George Russell calls for Mercedes internal review after qualifying disaster

0
An angry George Russell called for a review within Mercedes after poor qualifying execution at the 2024 Hungarian Grand...
Oscar Piastri in the pit garage at the 2024 Austrian GP | McLaren F1 Team

Oscar Piastri hints at Lando Norris battle for 2024 Hungarian GP win

0
Oscar Piastri pointed to the long run down to Turn 1 at the Hungaroring as a potential way to...
Lewis Hamilton in action at the 2024 Hungarian GP | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton targeting podium at 2024 Hungarian GP

0
Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a podium at the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix although he concedes McLaren and Red...

Max Verstappen slams Red Bull upgrade: Whole weekend not good enough

0
Max Verstappen ripped into Red Bull’s latest upgrade by declaring the whole weekend has been below his standards after...
Pascal Wehrlein of Porsche and Jaguar driver Mitch Evans during Round 15 at the London E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E title permutations and standings ahead of 2024 London E-Prix season finale

0
Things are hotting up in London as Nick Cassidy claimed pole position for the final race of the season...
- Advertisment -