Site logo

A crazy idea

NEWS STORY
18/05/2006

Over the course of the Barcelona weekend it was reported elsewhere that serious consideration is being given to the possibility of a Mediterranean Grand Prix, which would alternate between a number of circuits eager to join, or rejoin, the Formula One calendar, including Valencia and Paul Ricard.

While Valencia has never hosted a round of the Formula One World Championship, Paul Ricard hosted 14 Grands Prix between 1971 and 1990.

The Paul Ricard circuit, for many years home to the legendary Winfield Racing School, where legends such as Prost, Pironi, Tambay and Alesi honed their skills, was sold in 1999, along with the nearby Le Castellet International Airport, to Bernie Ecclestone, who has since turned the French track into one of the most modern test facilities in the world.

The track has almost 200 different configurations, thereby allowing race teams - cars and bikes - to use the facility to prepare for almost any other track, with seven F1 teams currently using the facility as part of their Monaco preparations.

The purchase and development of the nearby Hôtel du Castellet means that Paul Ricard has almost everything in place to make it not only a superb test track, but also a great race track. Everything that is, except grandstands.

Since those heady days in the late 80s and early 90s the track has turned its back on spectators devoting itself to its role as the leading test facility.

Until now.

Under CEO Philippe Gurdjian, and as part of the massive redevelopment plan, the grandstands, where race fans watched Stewart, Fittipaldi, Andretti, Prost and Mansell have long since been removed.

However, the facilities are in place to provide corporate guests with "an unforgettable 100% Formula One experience". Indeed, according to the people at Paul Ricard, the "Panoramic VIP Club is the greatest Public Relation mean (sic) available."

Consequently, Gurdjian is now suggesting that a "VIP Grand Prix" could take place at Paul Ricard with just a couple of thousand invited guests. The race would take place behind closed doors, though the public would probably get to see the event courtesy of TV.

Bernie Ecclestone has never made any secret of the fact that the people who pack the grandstands are of no interest to him, even though it is their ticket money that allows the (struggling) circuit owners to meet his ever increasing financial demands.

The people that Bernie wants to see at races are the rich and famous, the powerful and the beautiful. This, according to Bernie is the ideal face of F1, not the flag waving, burger-munching plebs that fill the stands.

The idea that anyone, even Bernie, could even consider - for the briefest of moments - hosting an event merely for a special few is preposterous, and could turn out to be one of the single most damaging events in the sport's history.

F1 is already considered elitist, therefore, to host a race to which the general public is not invited would send out a very clear message; you are not wanted. There are many other sports, not to mention disciplines of motorsport that would be eager to cash in and grab the millions of fans that F1 apparently has not time for.

Such an event, though delighting a couple of thousand people who couldn't give a toss about Formula One, would be the worst possible PR move, even worse than last year's Indianapolis debacle, and the sport would thoroughly deserve the backlash.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms