09 Sep 2017 - 0:05
French GP aiming for reduced crowd and congestion
London: Organisers of the first French Formula One Grand Prix in a decade are aiming for a race day crowd of around 70,000 when the event returns to Le Castellet next year and hope to avoid the traffic snarls of the past.
The circuit, on a plateau between Marseille and Toulon, could accommodate 20,000 more but commercial director Aurelie Letellier told Reuters that they would not go for full capacity in year one.
“We are confident we can have a big capacity but we are also being very humble,” she said. “So we are working on an estimate of accommodating 65-70,000 people for the race. That is a reasonable objective.”
That number would be less than in the final years at Magny-Cours, a track in the rural heart of the country whose last grand prix in 2008 drew a Sunday attendance of 78,000.
Le Castellet, also known as the Circuit Paul Ricard, hosted 14 grands prix between 1971 and 1990 before being converted into a high-tech test track under the ownership of a trust linked to former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
Road access was always a problem in the old days and Letelier said traffic management had been top of the list of priorities.