Formula 1 drivers have expressed their concern about the unclear future of the Belgian Grand Prix's place on the calendar.
With the F1 2023 schedule expected to be confirmed in the near future, there are growing threats that the fan-favourite Spa-Francorchamps will be missing from the line-up.
Next year's calendar will see an additional event in Las Vegas, as well as the return of the Chinese and Qatar Grands Prix, and a South African GP is rumoured, but not yet confirmed.
The 2022 schedule is 22 races long and, with the current Concorde Agreement limiting the schedule to 24 races, Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps Circuit is one of the venues at risk of losing out, as their contract expires this year.
Drivers raise concerns about losing Spa
Established F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez have already expressed their disappointment at the prospect of losing the Belgian GP, and Lando Norris, who is half-Belgian, shared his concerns about F1 prioritising "business decisions".
"I personally have a lot to do with Spa of course and I love the circuit. I went to Belgium for many years and spent a lot of time there with my family," Norris told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I'm looking forward to experiencing the changes and the new tarmac, and a new grandstand at Raidillon.
"I always look forward to Spa. It's one of the coolest circuits all season.
"It would be a shame to lose Spa. A lot of things these days are just about money, that's the problem. It's a business.
"It's a historic race for F1, the same as Monaco. As far as I know, they don't even pay in Monaco and it's still on the calendar – same with Monza. So I think Spa should always be there as long as Formula 1 exists."
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Gasly: Safety not the reason for Spa loss
The Spa-Francorchamps Circuit has been the subject of safety concerns in recent seasons. The fast Eau Rouge – Radillion section has been the scene of several crashes, including the collision that took the life of Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert in 2019.
A series of upgrades have been undertaken at the venue, including a greater run-off area at Radillion and other corners, a new grandstand, and improved facilities.
Pierre Gasly is a driver at risk of losing multiple events with personal meaning; the expiring contracts of the French and Monaco Grands Prix means he could potentially lose two 'home' races, whilst he has previously described the Belgian race as being geographically closest to his home town.
The AlphaTauri driver expressed his concern at the possibility of losing the Belgian GP, and suggested the reasons for its removal were monetary.
"Personally I don't think it has anything to do with safety, but I can't wrap my head around the fact that it's disappearing from the calendar," Gasly said.
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