A petition is doing the rounds trying to halt plans for a streetrace in Nice, whose Mayor, Christian Estrosi, a former professionalMotorcyclist who heads the French Grand Prix project, is keen on getting it onthe Formula 1 calendar. RacingNews365.com understands that F1 is looking toconsolidate its races in the region, and an event in Nice, just 22km fromMonaco, could prove to be the perfect solution.
Paul Ricard and Monaco out of contract
As it stands, there is a race at Paul Ricard and one at Monaco, both of which are out of contract at the end of the year. It is understood that Paul Ricard will not be renewed due to a multitude of reasons, with the French track’s ownership – the holding company being Excelis, part of the Ecclestone family trust – thought to be an added complication. The next stumbling block is Monaco, a circuit rich in the sport's history, loved by celebrities and the one race every Formula 1 driver yearns to win. However, the event has increasingly become more of a procession, with drivers finding it almost impossible to overtake without hitting the ever-present concrete walls. A change of layout is difficult to effect given the constraints of the legendary street circuit.
Could a Nice event be an alternative?
The safety of the race has been in question for many years, aswell as the processional parade it has turned into, while the principality hasuniquely retained the TV and trackside advertising rights. This could be amajor stumbling block as F1 holds those rights at all other circuits on thecalendar. A street circuit in Nice may sound like a perfect alternative tocombining both the Monaco and French GPs, especially as Formula 1 struggles tokeep the season's races to a specific number. However, negativity surroundingthe event by local ecologists and members of the public who do not want theevent to go ahead could easily derail the entire project. Meanwhile, the plan is said to have drawn a swift reaction fromthe Automobile Club de Monaco, which is determined to retain its place on thecalendar.