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Alain Prost hopeful of French Grand Prix

Four-time world champion working as ambassador for proposed event

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Four-time world champion Alain Prost is hopeful that plans of French Grand Prix will be firmed up within the next fortnight.

“It is a bit too early for any announcement regarding the French Grand Prix but we will definitely have a concrete word on it within the next couple

of weeks,” Prost told Gulf News at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix here on Sunday.

Ever since F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone’s birthday party in India last weekend, it has been rumoured that France could find favour for a race as early as 2013 in place of the scheduled one in New Jersey that was dropped off the calendar. However, everyone at the Paul Ricard circuit has chosen to keep silent on the matter.

Prost and former F1 driver Philippe Gurdjian have been nominated as ambassadors for the event in an attempt to make the race happen. “I have been involved only as an advisor at the moment. I know the project quite well. But there is no state money. We cannot compete with Grands Prix like here or in Asia. However there may be an opening,” Prost disclosed.

When pushed further, the four-time world champion, nicknamed ‘The Professor’ for his cerebral approach to the sport, admitted that sufficient work is being put in to ensure a race in France. “I will have a meeting with the different parties involved. A French GP, in my opinion, can also be a good working tool for the car industry but it is not something that can be decided in our Abu Dhabi meeting,” he said.

“Maybe things will be clear in another two weeks. I can’t tell anything more than this,” he said.

Rumours suggest that Prost and Gurdjian are apparently working with a financier from one of the Gulf nations to mobilise adequate funds. If the French dream does come true, then it would be the 58th edition of a Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard track. Prost, however, denied involvement of any Gulf country: “Whatever you are hearing about money from the Gulf or Arab country is only a rumour. But if that was the case, we would still accept the cash and go ahead with the race,” he added.