Spa loses right to host F1 race

UPDATE #2 This is downgraded to 'false' now. The Walloon Ministers today decided to lift the provisional suspension, allowing for a minimum period of six weeks all races to take place. Strange things sometimes happen in Belgium.

09/23/09 (GMM) Belgium has joined Canada and Germany in the uncertainty about their spots on the 2010 formula one calendar.

Canada is yet to agree a contract with Formula One Management, and the Hockenheim circuit in Germany is still negotiating after saying it was no longer willing to absorb annual million euro losses.

Belgium also has a spot on next year's race schedule, but it emerged on Wednesday that the famous and popular Spa-Francorchamps circuit has had its operating license revoked by a local administrative court.

The license has been rescinded until 2026, upon request by a board of local residents complaining about noise, according to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

It is believed that the Spa operators were ordered to submit an environmental impact study, which has been denounced by the court as "seriously inadequate and incomplete".

"The whole viability of the circuit may be questioned," circuit director Pierre-Alain Thibaut, who vowed to contest the decision, said.

09/23/09 Reports in the Belgian press on Wednesday explain how the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, scene of the country's Formula One race, has lost its right to hold the event for another seventeen years. It is believed that the decision comes following a 2007 complaint posted by people living in the vicinity of the legendary track. With Spa having lost its place on the F1 calendar in both 2003 and 2006, the races of 2010 and many more years also appear to be in doubt, according to reports in the country from Lesoir.

The publication describes how the State Council has suspended the license for the Spa-Francorchamps circuit and related facilities to be able to host a Grand Prix until the year 2026, stressing that the decision comes 'more than two years after the introduction of a complaint filed by residents of the circuit and the Mute association'.

"The whole viability of the circuit may be questioned," the circuit Manager is quoted as saying, adding that he will challenge the government's decision. The State Council added the following, regarding noise pollution in the area: 'If it exists, the study of environmental impact is seriously inadequate and incomplete.

The State Council has therefore suspended the operating license.'

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