The Belgian GP is expected to announce a new contract with F1 and stay on the calendar until 2025. For most fans of the sport, this report is a very welcome development.
Following last weekend’s action in Qatar, there have been a few discussions about what circuits should be on the calendar. The FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has commented quite strongly about the track limits issues in Qatar and Austria.
Although these disputes are likely to be resolved, they demonstrate the constant negotiations surrounding the F1 calendar. In recent seasons, the arrival of different venues has jeopardised the positions of well-established circuits.
Generally speaking, European tracks have been more susceptible to losing their places on the calendar. Formula 1 has diverted significant resources into introducing a more international series of host countries.
This has been met with mixed success. Some relatively new additions receive general support from spectators who believe they offer high-quality racing. However, others (as seen at the Losail International Circuit) have been heavily criticised.
Amidst the conversations related to new circuits, questions have been raised about existing events. Specifically, Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps has been fighting for its future in F1 for several years.
Securing new contracts with FOM has become increasingly complicated for organisers at circuits such as Spa, which face heavy competition from aspiring hosts.
Stefano Domenicali has also made comments about the importance of venues offering something new – rejecting suggestions that history alone justifies a place on the calendar.
A variety of complaints have been directed towards the Spa circuit, including its outdated facilities. However, substantial investments over recent years have largely addressed these problems.
According to the Belgian outlet Le Soir, the Belgian GP will continue on the calendar until 2025. Having agreed a new deal with F1, nerves about Spa’s future should be calmed.
If this report is confirmed, it must be stressed that Belgium’s long-term future is still somewhat uncertain. After all, other venues have received 5-10 yeas contracts – a stark contrast from the one-year extensions being offered to Spa.
Still, this is positive news for one of the most iconic circuits in F1.