Spa off the F1 calendar? 'There is a lot of politics going on in F1'

Spa off the F1 calendar? 'There is a lot of politics going on in F1'

11-05-2023 16:51

Ludo van Denderen

It remains a favourite topic: which Grands Prix will be added, and which will disappear from the F1 calendar? Many places are suggested as possible venues for an F1 race. One name keeps falling by the wayside: the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which still has a contract with Formula One Management (FOM) for the 2023 F1 season only. Daniil Kvyat, in an exclusive interview with GPblog, asks whether Formula 1 can do without Spa?

The latest rumours from the paddock are: the Japanese Grand Prix moves to April in 2024, South Africa remains a serious option - provided the government assists financially - and Madrid will eventually take over the Spanish Grand Prix from Barcelona. With the imminent arrival of Audi in Formula 1, even a German Grand Prix would be an option. Just as the French Grand Prix is suddenly that again, barely a year after it was dropped from the calendar.

Uncertainty for Spa

There are basically 24 Grands Prix scheduled for next year, one more than the current season. Of the current races, only one event does not have a contract for next year: the Belgian Grand Prix. As is known, Spa would get a renewed chance should Kyalami (South Africa) still fail to get off the ground. There is no word at all on a multi-year commitment between FOM and Spa Grand Prix.

So it remains highly uncertain whether F1 will continue to operate on the distinctive circuit in the Belgian Ardennes after this season. It is, therefore, possible that a favourite of the drivers will disappear, something that is incomprehensible to many racing fans. "Well I don’t know, now in Formula 1 there is a lot going on, also very political, some messages in the press," Daniil Kvyat, speaking to GPblog, said of the future of racing in F1. "I think it’s all quiet, there are reasons for someone dropping the price or paying the race or hosting the race, someone throws some rumour in the media. So I don’t know what is going on internally, but until there’s no official news out, there is no point."

'Great circuit'

So while nothing has been definitively decided, there is hope for Spa-Francorchamps. "There were already talks in the past, how many years in a row we hear Monaco is going to get dropped, Spa, Monza. In the end it stays, of course there is talk, there must be some sort of political struggle in there, which people from the track and from Formula 1 are trying to sort out. It’s a great track, but it’s been proved now, it’s so popular, but can we survive without it?", Kvyat questioned out loud.

The organisers of the Belgian Grand Prix are themselves hopeful that there will be an extension to the expiring contract with FOM, it was revealed recently.