Beauty and the beast: French F1 traffic snarl-ups to be tackled, say bosses

Ross Brawn, the sporting director of F1, said the chaos experienced by thousands of ticket-holders would have to be avoided in future.

Traffic congestion and parking problems blighted the French Grand Prix's return to a remote beauty sport.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Traffic congestion and parking problems that blighted the French Grand Prix's return to a remote beauty sport after a decade's absence will be analysed and resolved, race organisers said on Sunday.

Ross Brawn, the sporting director of F1, representing the new American owners Liberty Media, said the chaos experienced by thousands of ticket-holders would have to be avoided in future.

But, he said, it was a difficult challenge because due to the circuit's beautiful location, it was virtually inaccessible by major roads.

“It's a paradox because it's a measure of the popularity of the event,” said Brawn.

“If you have a race in a beautiful part of the world, you're not going to have a six-lane highway servicing it.”

Many F1 fans travelled long distances by car to attend the race weekend, but were unable to reach the circuit and use their tickets.

They were instead consigned to hours of queueing in very hot conditions before, in many cases, giving up and turning back.

“It's very frustrating,” Brawn said. “We don't want to do is have fans put off because it becomes too much of an epic to get to and from the circuit.”

The fans were not the only people affected by having only a single road to access the circuit. Drivers and team staff were also delayed and had to persuade police, manning roadblocks on minor roads, to allow them through.

A crisis meeting overnight Friday to bring in an improved system for Saturday failed and tailbacks up to 7km were blocking roads again in the morning.

The return of the French event at Le Castellet was one of the last deals completed by former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone before Liberty took control.

The new owners favour 'destination cities' in their vision for the future of the sport -- a vision that does not include remote circuits deep in the scorched countryside of the Var mountainside.

“I think you need both,” said Brawn. “This is a classic, iconic circuit and the French GP is very important.”