Ocon and Gasly back French GP return after Magny-Cours revelation

The race was pulled from the 2023 calendar with Paul Ricard no longer wanting to host annual races

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Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly have urged Formula 1 to bring back the French Grand Prix in the near future, after it’s absence on the 2023 calendar.

Paul Ricard, which returned in 2018 after a 28-year absence, was no longer keen on hosting a race every single year, instead proposing a rotational schedule which didn’t come to fruition. But the French government and President Emmanuel Macron want the race back as soon as possible.

Magny-Cours has emerged as a potential host venue after previously leaving the F1 calendar in the late 2000s while a street track in Nice has also been suggested.

“It’s awesome news,” Ocon told the media. “The best news of the year probably. There are a lot of people involved who are trying to find solutions and some people who pushed for a return of the grand prix back in the day.

“Good to see things are moving in the right direction and we should be a French Grand Prix. We are a big motorsport nation, we have big manufacturers and we are a full French team with the drivers.”

The 2021 French GP podium | Nicolas Tucat / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Unique opportunity

Gasly and Ocon make up the only all-French driver lineup on the grid and race for the French manufacturer Alpine, although the F1 team is based in Enstone in the UK.

The French are very passionate about motorsport with the Le Mans 24 Hours a highlight of the year, every year, and Gasly thinks the French GP, he oldest Grand Prix in the world, deserves a spot on the F1 calendar.

“Honestly, I’ll take anything,” Gasly added. “The chance to be racing in your home country and in front of your home fans is very unique.

Le Castellet is an option, Magny-Cours and obviously Nice; they are talking about a street track. I haven’t seen the proposed land there but it’s definitely good to have the support of President Macron and I hope they can find an agreement with Formula 1.”

When is the next F1 2023 race?

F1 will return from its summer break with the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix from Zandvoort  on August 25-27, where championship leader Max Verstappen will be racing on home soil.

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
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