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Belgian Grand Prix Contract Extended For Another Year

Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Meghana Sree

The racing community can breathe a sigh of relief once again, as Formula One extends its contract with the famous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for at least one more season.

Formula One recently revealed a record 24-race calendar for the 2024 season, which saw Spa-Francorchamps continue to feature on the calendar for yet another year, despite concerns over its continuity to host the pinnacle of motorsport.

The decision to extend the contract with the iconic Belgian circuit followed soon after plans to host the South African Grand Prix at the famed Kyalami circuit failed to materialise.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali held regular meetings with the officials and the other major stakeholders at the Kyalami circuit over the past year, in a bid to revive the South African Grand Prix, last hosted in 1993. A slot later in the ongoing 2023 season had also been proposed, following the cancellation of the Chinese and Emilia-Romagna Grands Prix.

However, with neither efforts coming to fruition, it means we will not see F1 return to South Africa until at least 2025.

Nevertheless, while one iconic race track will not make a return, another circuit of similar stature remains on the Formula One calendar. Yes, it is the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps being the track in question.

The 7 km (4.3 mi) long circuit is the longest on the Formula One calendar, and the Ardennes countryside has played host to some thrilling races over an illustrious 40-year stint, in its current guise. Fans and pundits of the sport regularly bring up and debate iconic races and moments from the Belgian Grands Prix of the past.

The Formula One community never forgets to adore the famous corners adorning all 7 km of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps either. Each turn on the circuit has etched its way into Formula One history, be it La Source for its lap one incidents, or the following Eau Rouge-Raidillon sequence of corners, arguably the most iconic and the toughest in Formula One history.

If that isn’t enough, the following Le Combes chicane at the end of the Kemmel straight provides for a famous overtaking spot, one that has seen numerous moments, overtakes or clashes, across the years. Pouhon and the Bus Stop chicane are other notable corners, at a circuit that puts enormous strain on the drivers’ necks.

"I am pleased with the confidence that Formula 1 has shown in us," said Melchior Wathelet, president of the race promoter Spa Grand Prix.

"Another page in Formula 1 will be written in 2024, to the delight of fans.”

Spa Grand Prix director Vanessa Maes was also quoted by Sporza news agency, saying: "By signing this contract, Spa Grand Prix shows that it is able to evolve in line with the new expectations of Formula 1 and its fans.

"Sport and spectacle are part of our DNA more than ever, and we will continue to offer the public a complete experience, both on and off the track."

Although, the news of Spa’s contract extension comes at a slightly awkward moment, at a time when the track has received criticism, for FRECA driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff’s death last weekend.

Yet, it is fair to say everyone will be thoroughly pleased to see the Belgian Grand Prix stay for another year on the calendar, and would dearly be wishing the circuit stays on beyond 2024 as well. There has been constant chatter over Spa-Francorchamps being axed in the future to accommodate the return of the Kyalami circuit. While the position of the former has been under scrutiny for a few seasons now, F1 enthusiasts will be praying for both circuits to be confirmed on the calendar, in order to avoid losing either one of Formula One’s most iconic racetracks.


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