Spa boss says track not too dangerous for F1

Sat, 29 July 2023, 10:00

Jul.29 (GMM) Belgian GP promoter Vanessa Maes has hit back at the narrative that Spa-Francorchamps has become too dangerous for the Formula 1 calendar.

The drivers have been talking about the potential of cancelled sessions this weekend due to the type of rain conditions that ended in another junior category fatality at the top of Eau Rouge recently.

But Maes told RTBF on Friday that Spa is “no more dangerous” than any other circuit.

“Motorsport remains dangerous but safety is the top priority of the circuit, Spa Grand Prix, the FIA and Liberty Media,” she insisted.

The safety discussion at Spa has come at an awkward time for the organisers as the current race contract with Formula 1 expires after 2024.

“There are many candidates and there are few places on the calendar,” Maes admitted.

“After this event we will have talks. We will not let this go,” she added.

The big rumour is that F1 may only be willing to ink a new deal with Spa-Francorchamps if it is annually rotated with the nearby Dutch GP at Zandvoort.

“F1 is evolving very quickly,” Maes said when asked about that. “It’s a brave person who can say what will happen in two years in this sport. Certainly not me.

“But we want to host F1 here every year. A lot of people live off this event. Yes, it takes investment and support from the Walloon government, but the return is there. It’s worth it.”

Maes said Spa already responded to Liberty Media’s request for “a lot more entertainment” alongside the Formula 1 action last year.

“We receive 110,000 spectators every day,” she explained. “That’s 10,000 more than in previous years. Half of them are Dutch.”

Maes concluded: “F1 with Spa is perfume. Without Spa, F1 is only cologne.”

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