Eric Boullier says discussions he had with Bernie Ecclestone were key in helping secure the return of the French Grand Prix to the F1 calendar.
The return of the race after a ten-year absence was confirmed during a press conference in Paris on Monday, with Paul Ricard set to host the race from the 2018 season onwards. A five-year deal was confirmed at the Automobile Club de France, by French motorsport federation president Nicolas Deschaux and Christian Estrosi, the president of the regional council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA).
Boullier was present at the announcement and received special thanks from Estrosi, with the McLaren racing director explaining it was his ability to speak to Ecclestone which had proven so beneficial.
"I am delighted that the French Grand Prix returns," Boullier told F1i at the announcement in Paris. "As a Frenchman, I have tried to bring my own modest contribution to support this nice project brought forward by [president of the PACA region] Christian Estrosi to make sure it does happen.
"My support is that I live in the UK and as the racing director of a Formula One team I have a special relationship with Bernie Ecclestone. I just made sure the discussion happened, the presentation took place, and the right messages were sent and understood."
The French Grand Prix was last held in 2008 at Magny Cours, and Paul Ricard hasn't hosted the race since 1990.