To paraphrase the stunned and dismayed youngster who confronted Shoeless Joe Jackson after the infamous 1919 Black Sox incident, “Say it ain’t so, Spa!” The president of the Spa-Franchorchamps circuit, Etienne Davignon, admitted to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that the Belgian Grand Prix would likely become a once-every-other-year event.
“We have already been congratulated by F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone. The facilities we have here are perfect. I have said in previous years though we will look at the figures and examine them year-on-year. We have certain overall targets in terms of income and expenditure. I don’t want to give exact figures now, although ticket sales on Tuesday and Wednesday were generally on course. However, what will happen in the future we don’t know. We are playing with the idea of alternating with a circuit nearby (the Nurburgring). That is the current state of play. However we are not at that stage yet.” — Translated quote from F1Technical.com, original article at Het Laatste Nieuws
My reaction as a fan of Formula 1 and motorsports in general? CRAP!!! If this genuinely comes to pass, I’ll be gutted. The Belgian Grand Prix is the one event I wait anxiously for every Formula 1 season! It is the best race at the best circuit. As we’ve stated here in regards to the rotating event schedule of the WRC, one cannot keep a solid event when missing every other year. We need look no farther than the Monte Carlo Rally to see what effect this type of schedule rotation can have on an event. Spa is one of the few genuine, non-Tilkeified, circuits left on the schedule, and one where we still see genuine racing. If it ends up off the schedule, I can’t say that my interest in Formula 1 wouldn’t wan significantly. Imagine IndyCar without the 500, Le Mans without the 24 Hours, or the WRC without Monte Carlo …oh, wait.