F1 legend Prost reveals French GP plan

Alain Prost calls for French GP return

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Story highlights

  • Alain Prost reveals talks being held over reinstating the French Grand Prix
  • The race at the Circuit Paul Ricard was last held in 2007
  • Reports suggest the FIA is to increase entry fees for team for the 2013 season
  • Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel sets the fastest time in practice ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP

Alain Prost has revealed that he hopes to resurrect the French Grand Prix, a race he won six times during his illustrious Formula One career.

The four-time world champion driver is meeting with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone about reinstating the event, which was last held in 2008, at Circuit Paul Ricard near Marseille.

"We were very close to organizing a French Grand Prix in Paris a few years ago and now I've been asked to advise and see if everything is correct," the former McLaren driver told CNN ahead of this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"I have the opportunity to meet Bernie and we'll see what happens. It might be the right timing, that's all I can say. But in the end it is always a question of money."

The Frenchman picked up the first of his 51 grand prix wins at his home race in 1981. That year it was held in Dijon, which was rotated as a venue with Paul Ricard from the early 1970s until Magny Cours took over in 1991.

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"We could have organized a race in Paris a few years ago which was really the best project," explained Prost, who also raced for Renault, Ferrari and Williams during a 13-year spell behind the wheel.

"If we cannot do that, I think the Circuit Paul Ricard is really the best place ... in Europe, we are in a way missing Formula One. We still have some races but we miss the historical races.

"We still have Monza, we still have Silverstone, but we see that it is not that easy to organize. We have been everywhere in the world for the benefit of Formula One but at the end of the day, the culture, the tradition of Formula One and motor racing is really in Europe."

Prost has special attachment to the track in Le Castellet, where he took some of his first steps on the road to F1.

"I feel a little bit nostalgic," he said. "In my heart I would be very pleased -- it became a fantastic track, a fantastic place and it would be a shame not to use it.

"I have a lot of memories. It's like Silverstone in England. If you stop racing you lose almost all of the history from the country and that is not good."

After this weekend's Abu Dhabi race, teams will stay at the Yas Marina circuit to take part in the annual young driver test event -- where a Prost will take to an F1 track for the first time since the 1993 Australian Grand Prix.

Prost's oldest son Nicolas is a development driver for the Lotus team, formerly known as Renault.

The 31-year-old is a latecomer to motorsport, instead deciding to attend university in the U.S. where he was a keen golfer.

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"I feel proud about what he's doing today," said Prost. "He's going to follow what the team want him to do, I know they are testing a few things for next year. It's exactly what he wants to do."

Prost is unsure whether his son will follow him onto the grid, saying: "We'll wait and see. He's very realistic, that is his quality. So he's not going to be disappointed."

Meanwhile, reports have suggested F1 teams face increased entry fees next season as the sport looks to increase revenue.

Motorsport's world governing body, the FIA, will charge every entrant $500,000 plus further expenses for each championship point won this season.

The constructors' champions -- likely to be Red Bull -- will have to pay $6,000 per point, compared to $5,000 for the rest of the teams, according to the Autosport website.

If these financial rules had been in place at the start of the 2012 season, Red Bull would have had to part with $4.4 million to enter the championship after picking up 650 points in 2011.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel's late-season charge towards a historic third successive drivers' title gathered pace as the Red Bull driver set the fastest time in practice ahead of Sunday's grand prix.

The German, who holds a 13-point lead over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with just three races to go, pipped McLaren's Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton by 0.168 seconds on Friday.

Vettel, the youngest double world champion in F1 history, has won the last four grands prix to derail Alonso's bid to win Ferrari's first world championship since 2007 and his third overall.

The Spaniard struggled to match the frontrunners, finishing the final session seventh fastest.