Ocon revved up by French GP return prospects

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Recent news that French president Emmanuel Macron is backing a concerted effort to bring Formula 1 back to the country is music to the ears of Alpine's Esteban Ocon.

Following its resurgence at Circuit Paul Ricard in 2018 after a ten-year hiatus, the French Grand Prix concluded its run at the venue after the 2022 edition, its promoters having failed to secure a contract renewal with Formula 1.

Prior to the confirmation of the event's departure from Paul Ricard, discussions had already begun about the potential organization of a race on the streets of Nice, although at the time it was suspected that F1 had only engaged in tentative talks to pressure nearby Monaco into agreeing to a new more lucrative deal with the Principality.

However, according to French daily Nice-Matin, Nice mayor Christian Estrosi wrote to president Macron earlier this year asking for his endorsement for a plan to put France back on F1's calendar.

Responding positively, Macron entrusted Estrosi and FFSA president Nicolas Deschaux with the task of liaising with F1's Liberty Media and initiating a feasibility assessment for the race's comeback.

The precise location has yet to be determined, though it's noteworthy that both Estrosi and Deschaux played pivotal roles in facilitating the event's previous incarnation at Circuit Paul Ricard.

"It's awesome news," Ocon told the media recently. "For me, that's the best news probably of the year.

"There is a lot of people involved who are trying to find solutions, people that pushed for the return of the Grand Prix back in the day.

"It is good to see things are moving in the right direction. We should have a French Grand Prix, we are a big motorsport nation, we have big manufacturers.

"We have a fully French team, with drivers as well, so it would be awesome to see it coming back."

Ocon admitted that he was indifferent to the choice of venue, be it a street circuit or a traditional track.

"Honestly, if there's a French Grand Prix anywhere, I'll take it."

For decades, the French Grand Prix was one of the most significant race on the F1 calendar, as it was the oldest Grand Prix in the sport's history.

It was first staged in June 1906 under the Grand Prix name, and it was staged on public road circuits, which included drivers passing through different towns every year.

The race ran uninterrupted from the creation of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1950 until 2008, taking place on seven different circuits and concluding its 58-year presence on the calendar at Magny Cours before the event's resurgence at Paul Ricard in 2018.

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