Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali said he expects the Belgian GP to stay on the calendar for a long time to come, despite Spa‘s contract ending in 2023.
Spa was confirmed for 2024 despite lacking a deal for the season – or at least one that’s been publicly announced – and will continue in its new slot as the last race before F1‘s summer break.
There’s not been a great Belgian GP in a number of years but the 2023 event was an overall success featuring a thrilling qualifying and sprint Saturday.
“First of all next year we’re going to be here, and we’re thinking about the future,” Domenicali told Sky Sports ahead of the grand prix.
“What’s really good to see here is they’ve invested for the fans and that has been something that has been something that we’ll always require for everyone.
“So I think that we go back with this picture that’s just magic, I think there’ll be a long-term future also for Belgium.”
There have been fears that Spa could get squeezed out in favour of newer and more lucrative circuits entering the F1 calendar.
Domenicali‘s previously said he wants the calendar to stay at 24 races for the foreseeable future, and that’s the number of grand prix scheduled for 2024.
But with more countries always pushing for spots on the calendar F1 will need to operate a one-in, one-out system and the short-term nature of Spa‘s deal put it at risk.
The Red Bull Ring and Hungaroring recently announced contract extensions to 2030 and 2032 respectively, locking down two more places on the long-term European leg of the calendar.
That means Spa, Baku, Imola, Monaco, Silverstone, Zandvoort and Monza plus Suzuka and Mexico City are the only circuits with contracts expiring before 2026.
Domenicali salutes Spa crowd and sprint success
The wet weather all weekend at Spa created more excitement on Saturday with a thrilling sprint shootout that saw Oscar Piastri land the first front-row start of his F1 career before he joined Pierre Gasly on the podium in the afternoon.
Domenicali described the sprint format as ‘beautiful’ and said it gave F1 planners food for thought in the future. And he paid tribute to the Spa crowd, who provided vociferous support all weekend.
“I think it’s extraordinary,” Domenicali added. “The passion that we see not only here but all around the world to see the new young generation of drivers, it’s just magic.
“Yesterday [Saturday], we had quite a challenging day in terms of weather, and they were there without any complaining, just ready with the enthusiasm that we need. So really very proud of it.”
Where is the next F1 race?
F1 will return from its summer break with the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix from Zandvoort on August 25-27, where championship leader Max Verstappen will be racing on home soil.