Jenson Button says he would be “very upset” to see Spa-Francorchamps drop from the Formula 1 schedule in 2023.
The future of the Belgian Grand Prix is in serious doubt, with Spa’s contract expiring after the upcoming event at the end of August.
The track is most of the most historic and recognisable venues on the calendar, and is a favourite of many fans and drivers.
However, a new event in Las Vegas will be on the schedule next year, while F1 will return to compete in Qatar following its inaugural race in 2021.
It places serious doubt over some existing races and their spots on the calendar, with France and Belgian touted as the two most likely locations to falter.
Speaking on the WTF1 podcast, Button says that F1 must be careful amid a period of uncertainty regarding the Belgian race.
“If Spa isn’t there I’ll be very upset,” Button said. “Monaco is a tricky one because there’s lots going on behind the scenes.
“But if you take away Spa, it’s for other reasons, not because it’s not a good circuit. It’s one of the best in the world, the racing’s amazing, the drivers love it and the teams love going there.
“We have to be a little bit careful. We know Formula 1 is entertainment and a certain TV show [Drive to Survive on Netflix] has made it very famous in America, which is great for the sport.
“But we need to make sure we keep the racing exciting and going to circuits that give us great racing because you’re going to see happy drivers.
“You’re going to get a lot more out of them if they’re in a good place, not thinking ‘why are we at this track? It’s not fun, we can’t overtake, it’s too narrow’.
“I like the mix of having street circuits and old school tracks, but we can’t be going to all city centres, and just going there because of the location.
“It needs to be because of the track itself and the country it’s in too because that’s how you get the fanbase. And having a fun race to watch on TV, with lots of fighting, is important too.”
The 2022 Belgian Grand Prix will take place from August 26 – 28.
Getting rid of Spa is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Then to replace it with a flat characterless street circuit like I suspect Las Vegas will be is a travesty and smacks of greed and short-termism overcoming good sense.
For me there are 4 tracks that are the holy grail of F1, these are (in no particular order) SPA, SILVERSTONE, MONZA and MONACO. Without these Four (4) tracks on the calendar, it just wouldn’t be Formula One
I could easily do without Monaco. But I keep saying, why not make Monaco it’s own prestigious GP, where the winner gets a big cash prize and a trophy, and not count towards the championship. It’s agonizing to watch that race, and with how bloated the cars are now, it’s not a race anymore, just a glorified qualifying ‘race’.
This would get my vote! Monaco has lost its appeal, for me, personally.
As an American who has been watching F1 since 98, so a drop of water in the ocean of time. This track is why I started watching F1 at like 3am the races came on a cable network back then and I happen to catch this track and was blown away by what I was seeing and I was like 10.
Now at almost 40 I took my holy grail trip to spa in 2019, and was inside the track with all the F2-3 cars and it was like the greatest thing I have ever put my eyes on(well minus the tragedy that went down)
If liberty or the FIA or whoever makes the call Spa is out over Miami or Vegas, my F1 soul will be crushed and I might not be able to take the sport seriously anymore! It’s already on the razors edge of becoming watered down, it was such a treat for a race wknd, 2 week was like the norm and a back to back was the best. It’s lost that build up for me. It just feels like an American company took over and well, are running it to the shareholders playbook, more money, more money, Vegas, get real, that is gonna be a dud, but it will make money and that’s all that seems to matter and it’s sad, was Bernie better?
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