F1 extends Belgian GP Contract
June 21 2018 , 1:55 am
Formula 1 has extended its contract with the Belgian Grand Prix until 2021.
The move secures the immediate future on the calendar of one of the world’s classic race tracks – Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes mountains.
The track first hosted a grand prix in 1925 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest challenges for a driver.
Chloe Targett-Adams, F1’s director of promoters, said: “F1 was born in Europe and the future of the sport needs to maintain its solid roots.”
F1’s new owner Liberty Media said when it bought the sport in January 2017 that it was determined to protect the major historical races.
The Spa renewal is the first new deal with such a track since Liberty took over and ousted former boss Bernie Ecclestone.
But the future of many other classic races remains up in the air.
The contract for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, regarded by some as the greatest challenge for drivers, expires this year.
The German Grand Prix has returned to the calendar this season after an absence in 2017 but its contract also expires at the end of 2018.
The British Grand Prix has only this year’s race on 6-8 July and next year’s before it, too, is out of contract, after Silverstone decided last year to exercise a break clause because hosting the race was becoming too expensive.
Liberty is keen to expand the calendar into new territories in addition to protecting historical races.
F1 is close to securing a new race in Miami, Florida, which is expected to take place for the first time in 2019 and would make a second grand prix in the USA, in addition to the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
There has also been talk of a street race in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.