F1: Zandvoort, Spa, face uncertain futures
(GMM) As Formula 1 stands firmly with Saudi Arabia following Friday’s nearby missile attacks, two of the sport’s most popular venues face a less certain future.
Zandvoort has instantly become one of the most loved venues for the renewed Dutch GP, but F1 is yet to pick up a two-year ‘option’ on the current deal.
“FOM wants to keep us on the calendar for a long time,” Robert van Overdijk, the Zandvoort circuit director, told Viaplay.
“We have an option for another two years that still has to be taken, and we can even sign up for much longer,” he said.
“It’s up to FOM but we’ll sign the extension tomorrow.”
However, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali warned this week that while he is looking to expand the calendar even further, existing events may need to make way.
“There are races that have a current contract and others that are coming to the end of their contract,” he said. “This is the case of France and also Belgium.”
Van Overdijk admitted that Zandvoort’s popularity alone will not be enough for the Dutch GP to secure its own future.
“We are a private event without government support and so we must first have sponsors and partners before we can enter into a long-term deal,” he said.
Another popular and even more historic F1 venue, Spa-Francorchamps, is also hanging onto its place on the race calendar despite a circuit overhaul over the winter.
Gaetan Vigneron, a veteran correspondent for the Belgian broadcaster RTBF, admitted the Belgian GP’s long-term future is in “danger”.
But there are upsides, he said.
“Russia is no longer on the calendar, Spa-Francorchamps is legendary and above all there is the Max Verstappen factor, who ensures the ‘second Dutch GP’ is sold out,” said Vigneron.
“The contingencies to sign a contract are economic, political and climatological. There is a lot of discussion,” he said.
“The Belgian GP is not yet lost, but it will be quite difficult.”