Reports of Belgian Grand Prix axe premature says F1 CEO
Aug.25 - Reports that fabled Spa-Francorchamps will definitely lose its Formula 1 race after this weekend's Belgian GP are premature.
That was the word on Wednesday from F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who also said discussions are ongoing with promoters in Monaco and France.
"I read somewhere that it will be the last time in Belgium," he told international F1 journalists. "I would be careful with that, very careful."
It appears that Spa's lifeline could be because the intention to get a grand prix up and running in South Africa has not yet resulted in a clear deal.
"We would like a race in Africa and South Africa is the most obvious place," said Domenicali. "But we want a stable and clear long-term agreement, not just one year and then it's over.
"These negotiations still need time."
Nonetheless, he is unapologetic about endangering the annual race dates of some of the most traditional hosts on the F1 calendar, confirming that the schedule could swell to 24 races in 2023.
"That's the number we're looking at," he confirmed.
"Although there is a lot of demand, I don't want more than 24. Next season it will be 23 or 24," said Domenicali, perhaps referring to the uncertain return of the Chinese GP.
And for any races like Paul Ricard that are left without a date, a new alternation scheme for 2024 and beyond could be their way back onto the calendar.
"That could be an option for France, for example, and I hope that Germany will also be back at the table soon," he confirmed.
"We have always said that even if they don't bring as much money, we respect the traditional races. But I said to the people in Monza 'don't rely on history alone'.
"You have to keep up with the times if you want to stay on the calendar. The negotiations with Belgium are still going on.
"I'm sure I will see them this weekend in my office in Spa," said the Italian.
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