Boullier admits French GP date change was 'a big problem'

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French Grand Prix boss Eric Boullier says the reshuffle of F1's calendar that brought the race at Paul Ricard forward by a week this month proved to be a major hurdle for his organization.

The cancellation in late April of the Canadian Grand Prix due to Covid-19, its subsequent replacement by the Turkish Grand Prix and then the latter's abandonment left F1 scrambling to rebuild its schedule for June.

The addition of a second race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria eventually led to the French Grand Prix being rescheduled for June 20 instead of June 27, and the overhaul at such short notice was anything but easy for the French promoters.

"It was a big problem. You can’t build everything up for a Grand Prix within three days," Boullier told

"During the Grand Prix, 1,200 people work. They were already booked to work for us that week. Then if you change the date six weeks before the race, they all have to change their plans.

"Then there are the spectators. Everyone had already booked their flight, train journey, accommodation and the likes, and they had to change everything too. So it’s a challenge.

"At the request of Formula 1, we were brought forward a week, losing 20 per cent of the spectators. However, those tickets were immediately re-sold."

Formula 1 venues are slowly welcoming back fans into the grandstands. Monaco authorized a 40 per cent capacity for its showcase event in the Principality.

The French government has allowed mass gatherings at public events of a maximum of 5,000 people. But three distinct closed zones, or 'bubbles', have been created at Paul Ricard to legally circumvent the rule and boost attendance to 15,000 people.

"Each bubble is completely independent," Boullier added.

"They have their own entrance gates, own parking spaces. Nobody gets in the way of someone from another bubble.

"We are the first major event in France. You have Roland Garros and the Cannes Film Festival, but with 15,000 spectators this is the biggest event yet. It’s good to be back."

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