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Spa ready to host F1 'the American way' to save Belgian GP – Inside Racing

Spa-Francorchamps is gearing up to host Formula 1 “the American way” in a bid to save the Belgian Grand Prix.
The iconic circuit in the Ardennes Forest was part of the first F1 calendar in 1950 and has hosted the fourth highest number of races since, with this year’s being the 55th Grand Prix there.
However, there is a strong feeling that 2022 will mark the last pilgrimage F1 makes to Spa, at least in the short-term, as owners Liberty Media ditch one of the greatest racetracks in the world to make space for new events in Las Vegas, Qatar and potentially South Africa from 2023.
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Unsurprisingly, that possibility hasn’t gone down well with drivers who have been very vocal in their support of the Belgian circuit.
And, after talks with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, the organisers are going all out to try and convince Liberty Media that Spa deserves to stay.
“It’s true that there has been a request from F1 to bring more entertainment,” says commercial director Stijn de Boever.
“They said history is great, but we need more. We have decided to listen and follow their new way of delivering F1 events. The American way, with all the entertainment that goes with it.
“We are planning all sorts of entertainment, with DJs, exclusive events, fans zones and activations around the circuit. You can say our legendary Grand Prix will also get the necessary bling. If we want to continue hosting races in the future, we have to modernise.”
During the winter, Spa also underwent a major renovation largely focused on bringing back the 24-hour motorcycle race, but a lot of work also went into improving the experience for fans, particularly after the problems caused by the rain last year.
Eau Rouge Grandstand
“The new Raidillon grandstand offers incredible views and the circuit itself has also been working hard on improving its facilities and becoming more sustainable,” de Boever explained.
“As far as traffic goes, we have been working with the local police to add car parks further away from the track on solid ground, near Malmedy, with shuttle buses transporting fans to and from the track. In 2019 it went quite well when it was dry, but now we have more options to provide better parking on hard soil.
“Of course, it’s still Spa. We don’t have trains that can take care of tens of thousands of people.”
But with these changes, there is a conviction that the Belgian GP can secure its place in F1 for the future.
“F1 has been very pleased with our plans,” said de Boever. “They are happy we are continuing to invest in a better fan experience, despite race day being sold out since December.
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“It’s happened before that we headed into a Grand Prix without having certainty about the following year, so it’s not a big issue. We’re looking for a yearly race, not alternating with another GP, but we’re going to listen to what F1 proposes.
“Liberty Media clearly has found a new way to organise F1 races and we are going to follow them.
“Yes, we have something to prove. We don’t have petrodollars, but we can show that we are a legendary Grand Prix that can entertain 100,000 fans per day. It’s a big plus that they’ll be able to experience it first-hand in August.”

         
 

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