F1 – Could Spa Switch to Every Other Year?

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.

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One Thought to “F1 – Could Spa Switch to Every Other Year?

  1. Nothing else to add to your article Doug. The tracks that keep me interested in F1 are Spa, Montreal, Melbourne, Suzuka and Interlagos. All but Interlagos have been under significant threat for removal from the schedule. Spa, Montreal and Suzuka have fallen off the schedule in recent years. Melbourne takes a bitter yearly shellacking from both FOM and the local government. Now Interlagos is coming under Bernie’s crossshairs.

    As vestiges of the past have fallen off the schedule (A1 Ring, San Marino…..) they have been replaced by Neuterheimring, Tilke abominations and Bernie’s best intentions. None can hold a candle to the grandeur of natural terrain road and street courses of the past. Spa is the last bastion of that bygone era…..

    My interest in F1 is already waning. If Spa goes, thats just one more carbon fiber keychain fob that FOM wont be selling…..

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