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F1 2022

F1 CEO Domenicali provides Belgian GP calendar update

Stefano Domenicali has given an update on the current negotiations between Formula 1 and the Belgian GP organisers, amid the risk of the event being axed from the 2023 calendar.

Belgian GP 2020 Start Turn 1
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To news overview © FIA Pool Image for Editorial Use

Stefano Domenicali has kept his cards close to his chest when discussing the Belgian GP future, and cautioned that discussions with multiple venues are continuing.

The current contract of the Belgian GP is running out at the end of this season, and the event is at risk of not making it to the 2023 calendar, which is due to be announced in the coming weeks.

With the addition of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, as well as the expected return of the Chinese and Qatar Grands Prix, it is anticipated that some European events will be dropped to make room in a calendar that is expected to reach a record 24 races.

The French, Belgian, Monaco and Mexican Grands Prix are all without a 2023 contract and technically at risk of being dropped from the F1 schedule.

When asked about the future of the Belgian GP, F1 Group CEO Stefano Domenicali denied ever ruling out the race from next year's calendar and left the door for a renewed contract, but warned 'discussions are ongoing'.

"I would never have said the comments 'Belgium will be in its last year'. I will be prudent on that comment," Domenicali told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"It's true that we are working and discussing with other promoters to see if they're ready for a full commitment this year or next year.

"We always discuss finding a mix of races, where we're going to have at least one third in Europe, one third in the far-east area, and the other third in the American and Middle East. We want it to be balanced.

"Of course, we're talking about the business where investments and financial contribution are very important. But we have always said that the traditional races, the races that we know cannot bring the money that others are bringing, have a full respect from us.

"With Belgium, discussions are still ongoing, so I don't know what is happening here."

History no guarantee of place on calendar

Domenicali also cautioned that historic events should not take their place on the calendar for granted.

The Belgian GP organisers have introduced safety and facility upgrades for this year's race, which received praise from the F1 CEO.

He added that investment in the legacy races must be undertaken to avoid them falling off the calendar, citing his own discussions with the Italian GP organisers as an example.

"There is a lot of respect for these places. But if you recall, Belgium, there were some periods where it was not in the calendar, and they came back again," added Domenicali.

"At Monza there will be the celebration this year of the 100th year of the Italian Grand Prix, it will be a terrific event.

"But as an Italian, I always said to them, 'you need to make sure that the history is not enough. We need to invest for a great future'.

"Monza needs to do its job because they need to update the structure, they need to update a place that is iconic, and there is the need to look ahead.

"You can be assured that these places will be always part of the discussion of the future, because it's the right thing to do.

"This is something that also on their side cannot be given for granted, that if you don't do anything you will be always there, because that's not right."

Domenicali: South African GP decision within couple of weeks

One of the possible replacements for the Belgian GP is a potential return of the South African GP, which hasn't featured on the calendar since 1993.

Domenicali confirmed that discussions were still taking place, and suggested that these current negotiations were responsible for the delay in confirming the 2023 calendar.

"I always say that we want to have a race in Africa, and as of today the most likely place to have a race in Africa is South Africa," commented Domenicali.

"Discussion are going on, as you can imagine we are talking with new promoters.

"What we are looking for is a very solid and clear, long-term commitment, because we cannot be there for one year and then game over. It is a situation that is taking time.

"I think that we're going to clarify this situation in the next few days, but for sure the commitment to be in Africa is something that we want to make, but we want to do it correctly.

"That's why the calendar will be defined in the next couple of weeks, maximum."

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