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Spa-Francorchamps Stays on F1 Calendar until 2025

Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Meghana Sree

Credit: Dan Mullan

Arguably one of, if not THE, greatest racing circuit in the world - Spa-Francorchamps, will officially be staying on the Formula One calendar until 2025, meaning the 2025 Belgian Grand Prix will be the final race on this new contract.

A 2-Year extension comes after an extremely impressive 2023 Belgian Grand Prix. A race weekend which hosted the Sprint format this time around. Speculation as to why exactly it was the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, that played host to this newer format of Sprint races, was because the circuit needed to generate more excitement and give fans more of a reason to attend the event. We all remember the Belgian Grand Prix of 2021.

Spa is a circuit which has taken a lot of criticism in recent years, with many calling it outdated and a circuit not fit to host Formula One. Spa has played host to the Belgian Grand Prix since 1950, making it one of the Crown Jewels in the Formula One crown. It’s had many iconic moments, like Michael Schumacher’s first ever victory, the 1992 Belgian GP. Perhaps the 1998 Opening to the Belgian GP, where over half the entire grid was caught up in an opening lap crash, a truly crazy moment. In 2000, there was the absolutely iconic overtake featured in many opening graphics even today, where Mika Hakkinen overtook Michael Schumacher, with a Lapped car in between them coming down the Kemmel straight.

Credit: Formula One YouTube

However, whilst Spa has been iconic, it’s taken a lot of heat in recent years due to driver safety. Eau Rouge, arguably the most famous corner in F1 history, is usually taken at Top Speed, and is blind as the cars run up the hill and onto the Kemmel straight. Tragically, a lot of drivers in the junior series over the years have actually died or been seriously injured as a result of moving at top speed going into a blind corner, and crashing into stationary cars on the Kemmel straight. Lando Norris had a huge crash in the 2021 Qualifying for the Belgian GP, at Eau Rouge, slamming into barriers due to the extremely wet conditions.

But the fact is, there have been no major deaths at Spa in Formula One, since Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey’s passing at the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix. Of course, there will likely always be a level of concern for the drivers, but history in Formula One itself at this circuit, does appear much more favourably. Perhaps it has to do with smaller cars and crash structures, racing through that corner - whereas F1 structures are far better and more durable.

Credit: John Thys

Spa-Francorchamps is one of a small handful of circuits to have been on the F1 calendar since 1950, the others being Silverstone, Monaco, Suzuka and Monza. Without these circuits, Formula One simply would not be what it currently is. Spa is a track which hosts many racing events throughout the year, and has seen a plethora of legendary drivers, race there each year. GT’s 24 Hours of Spa is one built up with much anticipation, along with the Belgian Grand Prix and other 24 Hour endurance races as well.

It must be said, a 2-year contract may seem slightly like an insult to Spa, especially when a circuit like Losail in Qatar, was given a 10-year contract before Formula One had even put one wheel to the asphalt back in 2021, and with driver safety concerns after the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, which saw multiple drivers struggle and allegedly even faint after the race, one really does question how circuits like that, are given safe and secure deals for a number of years, but a circuit which everybody loves and which hasn’t seen a Formula One fatality since 1960, only gets 2 years. This is also without mentioning that the Las Vegas Grand Prix, has been extended until 2032, despite Formula One still not having raced there as of this article’s publish date.

To the Formula One purists, and to any F1 fans who have respect for the older circuits like Spa, this is absolutely wonderful news as we will continue to watch one of the greatest circuits, where these gladiators are able to showcase their extreme abilities at high speed, rather than a street circuit which is all about tyre and energy management.

But what do you make of Spa-Francorchamps having a contract extension until 2025? Let us know in the comments below!

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1 Comment

Oct 13, 2023

One of the great circuits ! Long may it be on the calendar - Eau Rouge shows exactly how awesome an F1 car loaded with downforce can be, if you go and see it you can't believe how much of a direction change it actually is. Granted the gradient helps to a degree. The Villeneuve / Zonta crashes in the BARs also show exactly how things can go wrong at 200mph. Dear old Alex Zanardi had the most amazing escape there too...

Never forgotten by me at my first GP was one M.Schumacher stopping the Jordan on the Kemmel Straight in front of me on his debut, no one really knew why but the smell of a burnt out clutch…

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