A l’étranger, on en parle dans le « Telegraph »
Plan for new Paris Formula One track angers environmentalists


Article mis en ligne le 22 mai 2009
dernière modification le 26 janvier 2020

Plan for new Paris Formula One track angers environmentalists
A plan to build a new Formula One race track outside Paris has turned into a row between France’s sports car-mad prime minister and two cabinet members who say it would be an ecological disaster.

By Henry Samuel in Paris
Last Updated : 6:54AM BST 18 May 2009

France’s Prime Minister Francois Fillon Photo : REUTERS
François Fillon, the prime minister - who has competed in the Le Mans Legend historic sports car race and reportedly « dreams » of one day becoming the head of the FIA, the world motor sport body - has discreetly spearheaded a campaign to erect a new Grand Prix circuit near the French capital.

Last year France was axed from the Grand Prix calendar after the French motorsport federation withdrew its support of the race at the Magny-Cours track due to lack of funds. Organisers had hoped that a new track near Paris would be ready by 2011.

Related Articles
Motors on TV
Monaco Grand Prix overshadowed by bitter budget cap row
Ferrari lose court appeal to block FIA’s Formula One budget cap
Bernie Ecclestone in talks over British Grand Prix returning to Silverstone says Damon Hill
Spanish racism again in spotlight at Barcelona grand prixMr Fillon backs the site of Flins-Les-Mureaux, near the Seine, but his environment minister, Jean-Louis Borloo and the secretary of state for ecology, Chantel Jouanno, both fiercely oppose the location. They say it poses a pollution threat to a drinking water table passing directly under the race track site that supplies around half a million Parisians.

The circuit’s architect said, on the contrary, that it would be « the world’s first totally ecological race track » while one organiser accused Mr Borloo of « quasi-abuse of power » by vetoing the project before hearing the conclusions of independent experts.

Hundreds of environmentalists demonstrated over the weekend in Versailles against the track with banners saying : « F1 : Non, Organic (farming) : Yes ».

Alain Prost, the former quadruple world champion who has lobbied for the Paris area track, said that it had become the victim of a « political problem ».

« Things have to be clear at the government level, » he told Le Journal du Dimanche. « It’s typical of France. » « A Grand Prix around Paris would be as strong (a message) as the football World Cup, » he added. Mr Prost recently declared that France was « anti-cars ».