The Belgian Grand Prix has confirmed signing a one-season extension to its deal and will therefore remain on the Formula 1 calendar for the 2023 championship. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of Formula 1’s classic and most popular events and has hosted 54 grands prix but seemed set to be removed from the 2023 Formula One calendar given the increased interest from other venues with a lot of financial resources.
Given the situation, there will be fewer races in Europe, in order for Formula 1 to make room for new events: next season the sport will welcome the addition of Las Vegas and the returns of Qatar and China, yet the the latter still depends on the country’s vaccination rules and enduring COVID-19 isolation restriction.
The French Grand Prix has been removed from next year’s calendar and Belgium seemed to be heading towards a similar outcome given the fact that Formula 1 also wanted to add a race in South Africa. That has been a target for the sport for several years now, as former Ferrari boss and current F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali went to Kyalami a few months ago after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix: his plan was for a South African Grand Prix to take place in 2023. However, the discussions did not lead to a positive outcome for next year, which means that Kyalami is not going to join the 2023 calendar and may not materialise for 2024 either.
This is good news for the Belgian Grand Prix, as Formula One has agreed a contract extension for one more season with Spa-Francorchamps, while from 2024 a likely rotation arrangement will be confirmed.
“Formula 1 can confirm that the Belgian Grand Prix will be on the 2023 calendar following an agreement to extend our partnership together,” said a statement from Formula 1. “Further details on the 2023 calendar will be announced in due course.”
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Spa-Francorchamps will get a new date for 2023 because of how Formula 1 initially wanted to rejig its calendar.
One idea was for South Africa to take place in late April and Imola’s round to move to July – but now the Italian venue is likely to go back to the April slot it occupied in 2021 and 2022 with Spa-Francorchamps being held in July instead.
Formula 1 could have 24 races in 2023. However, if China cannot eventually take place due to the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic, then the calendar will likely be 23 grands prix – which would still represent a record schedule.
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