Start, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

“Discussions are still on” to keep Belgian Grand Prix on F1’s 2023 calendar

2023 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

The fate of the Belgian Grand Prix is not yet sealed, despite speculation the race will not appear on the 2023 Formula 1 calendar.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said yesterday “discussions are still on” concerning the future of the race. “We are in Spa this weekend so you will see them a lot of time in my office,” he added.

The event is one of several facing pressure from additions to the calendar in Las Vegas, Qatar and potentially South Africa next year. However Domenicali said the sport will make concessions towards heritage tracks such as Spa-Francorchamps which cannot afford the high hosting fees commanded by other venues.

“It’s true that we are working and discussing with other promoters to see if they’re ready for a full commitment already this year or next year,” he said. “But I would say the balance, that has been always a point that we have discussed, is to find the mix of the races where we’re going to have at least one-third in Europe, one-third in the Far East area, and the other one in America and the Middle East. So we want to be balanced.

“Of course, we are talking about a business where investments, financial contributions, are very important. But we have always said that the traditional races, the races that we know cannot bring the money that the others are bringing, have full respect from us. So you will see that this will be respected also not only this year, but also in the future.”

However classic venues such as Spa or Monza are not entitled to places on the schedule solely due to their heritage, said Domenicali.

“There is a lot of respect for these places. But if you recall Belgium, there were some periods where it was not in the calendar and they came back again. So the memory sometimes is short. It’s a great place, no doubt about it, and that’s why we are discussing.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“At Monza there will be the celebration this year of the 100th year of the Italian Grand Prix. That will be a terrific event. But as an Italian I always said to them you need to make sure that the history is not enough. We need to invest for a great future. So Monza needs to do its job because they need to update the structure, they need to update the a place that is iconic. There’s the need to look ahead.

“So you can be assured that these places will be always part of the discussion of the future because it’s the right thing to do. But this is something that also on their side can be given for granted, that if you don’t do anything, you will be always there. Because that’s not right, not correct in this moment.”

A survey of Formula 1 viewers in the United Kingdom highlighted strong public desire for the Belgian Grand Prix to remain on the calendar. Opinium polled over 1,300 people about F1 tracks and the calendar. It found 80% of the participants said they think the Belgian race should continue to feature in 2023, while 3% said it should not remain.

“A third (35%) of F1 fans who believe the Belgian GP deserves a place say so because it’s exciting to watch, while 32% think that as it is a historic track it should be included, and 28% say it’s part of F1’s DNA,” Opinium said in a press statement.

“Almost a fifth (17%) of young F1 fans (those aged 18-34) who want Belgium to stay on the calendar would want to attend a race there, compared to 11% of 35 – 54 year olds, and 7% of those aged over 55.

“Opinium’s research also reveals that the sport risks losing millions of viewers if Belgium is removed from the calendar, with 20% saying they would be less likely to watch the rest of the 2023 season, or that they would stop watching altogether if this happens.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 F1 season

Browse all 2023 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

8 comments on ““Discussions are still on” to keep Belgian Grand Prix on F1’s 2023 calendar”

  1. But if you recall Belgium, there were some periods where it was not in the calendar and they came back again. So the memory sometimes is short.

    No, the memory isn’t all that short. That it hasn’t been on the calendar is one reason a lot of people expressed their worry early on, and that is why you haven’t been able to drop it I’d say. Sigh.

    1. He also ignores that the reason it was missing from the calender in the past wasn’t because other countries were willing to throw more money at F1.

      It was missing from the 2003 season because the promoter went bust & a new one wasn’t able to be found in time to do a deal for a 2003 race. And it was missing from the 2006 season because they were behind schedule with the facility upgrades, Once they were finished it was back for 2007.

      And going back to the 70s it was missing because the old circuit was unsuitable from a safety standpoint & as soon as the ‘new’ circuit was built it was brought back.

      1. 2003 was cancelled because the Belgians had outlawed tobacco advertising and Bernie refused to remove the adverts from the car.

  2. Only if neither Kyalami nor Shanghai appears or only one of these.
    This is the reality for not only Spa-Francorchamps but also Paul Ricard HTTT.

    1. And it seems Monza isn’t save either …..

  3. Of all the little cuts which might ultimately turn me away from F1 this would be the biggest one (of all those that have happened or are being discussed). I am not saying this would be enough to stop me watching, it probably would not, but it might be enough to mean I drop out early if a season is uncompetitive. Meanwhile, the less F1 I watch the more I watch other series, which always has the risk of me just abandoning F1 to focus upon another series.

  4. Surely it being perfect for the Bel-Ned-Ita triple header (which the teams hate, but Liberty love) should count for something. Replacing it would endure more travel costs and likely a reshuffle as you couldn’t stick S.A. in a triple header with Ned and Ita.
    Given the way the fans were disrespected last year, keeping it on the schedule at least gives them chance to recover their reputation.

  5. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    25th August 2022, 15:10

    It seems all the drivers are bemoaning the potential loss of Spa weekend to the highest bidder, so why don’t the GPDA bare their teeth on it a little bit? Threaten to sit out an FP1 or something instead of just rolling over and accepting it.

Comments are closed.