F1 reveals Nice interest in French GP, denies pressuring Monaco

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Formula 1 has revealed Nice is interested in becoming a potential future venue for the French Grand Prix.

This year's event at Paul Ricard is set to be the last held on a full-time basis as the organisers admit a rotational place on the calendar is a likely goal going forward.

However, it would appear the circuit at Le Castellet has competition when it comes to hosting the race.

“Historically, France has been an important nation in motorsport,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told France's L’Equipe.

“You might not know this but there is an amazing project with Nice, who want a Grand Prix. It’s great, as it proves that other destinations in the country are interested in F1.

F1 Nice

“We are going to look at the applications and study them carefully. Other things could come very soon.

“All I can tell you is, by late July, you will know more about the future of your Grand Prix.”

Given Nice's close proximity to Monaco on the Cote D'Azur, some are wondering if Domenicali's claim is an attempt to pressure the organisers in Monte Carlo into signing a new contract as talks remain stalled.

“No, we just want to have great races, that’s what we want,” Liberty Media chief Greg Maffei told Motorsport.com. “We always look, there are a lot of people interested in holding a race, and we look at the alternatives.

“I think Monaco has the best deal of any track on the calendar. They may deserve it, but there are certain things that need to be consistent with everybody else.

“We think Monaco is a special place, a wonderful place. But, you know, fairness says there are certain things that should be everywhere.”

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As it is, the idea of F1 coming to Nice has already stirred up discontent from locals with an online petition by the city's All Citizen's Association gaining 1,000 signatures in three days.

On their website, the group revealed why they would oppose a race in the city citing cost, pollution and disruption for locals.

“Two years ago, the Metropolis voted a subsidy to the Grand Prix of Castellet, in the Var [region],” Association president David Nakache told local media.

“We were all astonished, normally the Metropolis votes for projects that take place on the territory of the Metropolis.

"At the end of the three years of operation of the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet, they are looking for a new destination and, as if by chance, the city of Nice could host it. In terms of the management of public funds, this is shocking.”

However, the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, didn't rule anything out in the future.

“Decidedly, these days Nice is at the centre of all interests as a destination for the organisation of the most prestigious sporting events,” the mayor told Nice Matin.

“One day there is talk of the arrival of the Tour de France, another of hosting the French F1 GP. It’s nice to be envied rather than pitied.”