French PM pushing for F1 return Sunday 31st May 2009

French prime minister Francois Fillon has said he wants the country's grand prix can be restored to the Formula One calendar as soon as possible.

Race organisers announced last October that they had cancelled the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours for financial reasons, leaving the country that invented grand prix motor racing without a race.

However, speaking on Friday, Fillon said he hoped that France's absence would be for one year only.

"The government will do everything so that there can be a Grand Prix in France as soon as possible, that is to say from 2010 (or) 2011," he told Europe 1 radio.

"We are in the process of looking at which circuit (would be used), if we need to build a new one...this is probable...it would undoubtedly take some time."

Magny-Cours, situated in the heart of rural France, has proven unpopular with teams and sponsors alike because of its poor accommodation facilities and difficult access.

Formula One commercial rights controller Bernie Ecclestone has said he would rather stage the race at a track near Paris.

Even so, Fillon said that Magny-Cours would likely be used again if France was to take a place on the calendar as soon as he hoped.

He added: "I think this will be necessary because the time it would take to build a circuit would take us up until 2012 and I don't think we can accept that there isn't a Grand Prix in France before (then)."

Disneyland Paris had been mentioned as an option but that appeared to be ruled out in November.

France has failed to stage a grand prix only once, in 1955, following the establishment of the formula one world championship five years earlier.