Formula One: Belgium GP to stay on F1 calendar at least until 2025

AP , Friday 13 Oct 2023

The Belgian Grand Prix at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps track will remain on the Formula 1 calendar until 2025 following a one-year extension.

Belgian GP
FILE - Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates with his trophy on the podium after winning the Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in Spa, Belgium, Sunday, July 30, 2023. Photo: AP

 

It’s one of the seven circuits from the inaugural world championship in 1950. The 7-kilometer (4.3-mile) circuit nestled in the Ardennes forest is also F1′s longest and has hosted 56 Grands Prix.

“Spa is synonymous with Formula 1 having been one of the circuits in our first ever season and is much-loved by fans and drivers alike, so I am delighted to extend our relationship with them until 2025,” Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1, said Friday.

Concerns have occasionally been raised about the track’s safety record. Dutch teenager Dilano Van ’t Hoff died after a crash at Spa-Francorchamps in a rain-hit Formula Regional European Championship race in July. The circuit is where French driver Anthoine Hubert was killed following a multi-car crash during a Formula Two race at the Belgium GP in 2019.

This year’s Belgian GP saw an attendance of 380,000 people, an increase of 20,000 over the 2022 edition of the event. The race also remains a firm favorite with drivers, with world champion Max Verstappen calling it his favorite track in F1. Verstappen won this year’s race.

“The promoter has taken big strides in the last few years to improve the fan experience and infrastructure, and work is ongoing between all the stakeholders with a clear focus on delivering safe and exciting racing,” Domenicali said. “I would like to thank the promoter and the Government of Wallonia for their continued support.”

Willy Borsus, the vice president and minister for the economy of Wallonia, the French-speaking region where Spa is located, said the race made financial sense.

“According to a study carried out in 2021, the Grand Prix generates positive spin-offs of €41.8 million ($44 million) for our region, after deduction of public funding, which is steadily decreasing,” he said. “These figures constitute a solid indication of the financial impact, and the positive outlook means that we can expect even more positive results this year.”

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