F1 drivers concern Spa’s subsequent grand prix will probably be its final · RaceFans

Whereas the 2023 Formulation 1 calendar has not but been formally confirmed, many drivers have already expressed disappointment over the widely-expected lack of the Belgian Grand Prix.

This yr’s race at Spa-Francorchamps would be the first after F1’s summer time break, by which level the occasion’s future could already be recognized. Pleasure for this yr’s race, following the one-lap washout of the 2021 version, is coupled with uncertainty over whether or not it might be the final to be held at Spa for the foreseeable future.

When Lando Norris – who has Belgian heritage on his mom’s facet – was requested on the French Grand Prix if he would favor to maintain the Belgian or French spherical at Paul Ricard on the 2023 calendar, it was a simple name for the McLaren driver.

“Spa, straightforward,” he mentioned. “My mum’s from Belgium, so I’m 50% Flemish. It’s as a lot a house race for me because it in Silverstone in a method.

“I personally have much more connections to it, in fact, and I like the monitor and so forth, I grew up plenty of the time or I grew up for a few years going to Belgium and spending plenty of time there with my household.”

The seven-kilometre circuit has undergone intensive work to enhance security following a number of critical and deadly accidents on the venue, most notably on the well-known sequence spanning the ultra-fast Eau Rouge and Raidillon corners. A number of iconic corners comparable to Raidillon have been reprofiled, with gravel traps returned to numerous locations across the circuit. Norris mentioned he was “excited” to have the chance to race on the revised monitor.

“Some adjustments, some bits have been resurfaced and so forth,” he mentioned. “Good, new grandstand on Raidillon. I all the time look ahead to Spa, it’s one of many coolest circuits of the entire season.

“I’ll be unhappy [to lose Spa]. Quite a lot of issues are nearly cash these days, which is the difficulty. It’s a enterprise.”

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Norris questions why a circuit so traditionally important to Formulation 1 as Spa has its place on the calendar beneath menace, whereas different venues with simply as sturdy a heritage don’t seem like in query.

Track changes at Speaker's Corner, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
First photos: New-look Spa-Francorchamps for 2022 revealed after £20 million renovation

“It’s a disgrace,” he continued. “But it surely’s a historic race for F1. Identical as Monaco – for what I do know, they don’t even pay and it’s nonetheless on the calendar – identical with like Monza and stuff. So I really feel prefer it ought to all the time be on for so long as Formulation 1’s round.”

Sergio Perez mentioned it could be a “large disgrace” to lose Spa from the calendar, whereas Sebastian Vettel agreed, describing the undulating monitor within the Ardennes mountains as “wonderful.”

On the Hungarian Grand Prix, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly expressed hope the race’s absence of the calendar will show solely non permanent.

“I don’t personally suppose this has something to narrate with the adjustments or to enhance security,” he mentioned of the explanation behind its potential F1 exit.

“However I can’t consider Spa goes to be out of the calendar for years. It positively deserves its place on the calendar.

“Personally, it’s most likely my favorite monitor. It’s simply a tremendous monitor to race on, a tremendous monitor to drive on. We’ll see what occurs, however I consider it’s going to remain and we’re going to nonetheless go there for fairly just a few extra years.”

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