Max Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to Turn 1 at the start and never looked back -at the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

F1: Belgian, Dutch GP alternation a ‘bad idea’ (Update)

(GMM) Organizers of the Belgian and Dutch grands prix have played down reports they will be forced to annually alternate their events from as early as next year.

According to the Belgian broadcaster Sporza, Belgian GP promoter Vanessa Maes will meet in London with Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali on Monday to discuss the future of the fabled Spa-Francorchamps race.

But Maes played down speculation the subject of their conversation will be the rumored alternation deal with Zandvoort rather than a standard new contract.

“Nothing has been confirmed yet. These are pure speculations,” she insisted.

“I only have a hunch why those messages are being spread just now,” said Maes. “And that could have to do with the news about South Africa in particular.”

It is rumored that F1 has had to abandon its plans for a 2024 South African GP at Kyalami due to the country’s supposed ties with Vladimir Putin.

Maes says it’s all just rumors. [Editor’s Note: As we stated, SA will not happen because of money, not because of ties to Russia – those are just BS excuses to cover for the fact SA cannot afford to pay $55 million annually for an F1 race]

Belgian GP boss Vanessa Maes

“It is FOM that communicates about the calendar in F1 and no one else,” she said. “We would prefer to sign a multi-year contract as before, but we will always be happy with what we get.

“Last year we proved that we can organize a grand prix according to current standards and conditions as much as possible and as a reward, we received not only congratulations, but also a one-year contract extension,” Maes explained.

“We will have to wait and see what FOM decides now.”

As for the Dutch GP, the rumors said Zandvoort may in fact be missing from the 2024 calendar as the Spa alternation deal begins – despite the circuit’s existing contract.

“Like our colleagues in Francorchamps, we were also surprised by the recent speculation,” said Dutch GP chief and former F1 driver Jan Lammers.

“This literally fell from the sky, and it’s hot air.”

Lammers particularly denied the claims that F1 may not go to Zandvoort at all next year.

“We still have 2023, 2024 and 2025 to finish on the contract. We still have a lot to look forward to in Zandvoort,” he said.

When asked if it would be a ‘pity’ if the Dutch GP had to take a back seat to F1’s calendar pressures, Lammers insisted: “This is the same as saying that it would be a pity that Max Verstappen retires.”

Jan Lammers

Another pity would be if Spa-Francorchamps dropped off the schedule.

“Look, Francorchamps is one of the most beautiful circuits in the world,” Lammers said. “I’ve always raced there myself with great pleasure.

“But again, I’m not deciding on that. It’s just something that’s not on the agenda right now.”

June 8, 2023 

(GMM) The Dutch GP may be absent from the 2024 Formula 1 calendar – despite Zandvoort already having a contract until 2025.

That is the claim of the French-language Belgian newspaper Le Soir, following up on earlier reports that Spa-Francorchamps is edging towards a new race deal with Liberty Media.

But according to Le Soir, Spa’s Belgian GP will only alternate a single annual calendar spot each year with Zandvoort – starting with the 2024 season when the Dutch GP will be absent.

The newspaper said Spa will host a race in 2024, before it moves to Zandvoort in 2025 and so on.

“The Belgian GP will only take place every other year from 2024,” Le Soir claims. “It will alternate with the Netherlands to create a sort of Benelux GP.

“It’s a project that could be emulated in Europe, where it is impossible to compete with the huge monetary offers from the rest of the world.”

However, the Belgian news agency RTBF has different information.

RTBF says that while talks between F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali are in an “advanced phase”, there is currently “nothing to suggest that Belgium will alternate with another grand prix”.

The agency’s F1 commentator Gaetan Vigneron said: “If Belgium and the Netherlands were forced to alternate in the future, they could consider it.

“But this is not the case at the moment. To be completely pragmatic, it is better to be present every other year than not at all. But personally, I think that alternating is a bad idea.”

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