A petition is doing the rounds trying to halt plans for a street race in Nice, whose Mayor, Christian Estrosi, a former professional Motorcyclist who heads the French Grand Prix project, is keen on getting it on the Formula 1 calendar.
RacingNews365.com understands that F1 is looking to consolidate its races in the region, and an event in Nice, just 22km from Monaco, could prove to be the perfect solution.
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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, as well as the processional parade it has turned into, while the principality has uniquely retained the TV and trackside advertising rights. This could be a major stumbling block as F1 holds those rights at all other circuits on the calendar.
A street circuit in Nice may sound like a perfect alternative to combining both the Monaco and French GPs, especially as Formula 1 struggles to keep the season's races to a specific number.
However, negativity surrounding the event by local ecologists and members of the public who do not want the event to go ahead could easily derail the entire project.
Meanwhile, the plan is said to have drawn a swift reaction from the Automobile Club de Monaco, which is determined to retain its place on the calendar.
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