Formula 1 | No French F1 GP in 2023, Spa-Francorchamps in doubt

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has announced that the French Grand Prix will not take place in 2023. The race at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet will not be contested next year, as he explained, assuring that there was no hope for 2023, but that a return in 2024 or later was possible.

“We are discussing with the French Federation, and with the government, because more and more the future is also linked to promoters who see it as an investment for the country, for the community” said Domenicali.

“The discussions are therefore very, very open for a bright future. And as you know, one possibility, not next year but in the future, could be to find some kind of rotation proposal that would allow everyone to be part of the calendar. Because I think it’s a matter of respect. »

Spa-Francorchamps on the sidelines… for now

Domenicali also revealed that Spa-Francorchamps, currently the first reserve on the 24-race calendar, still has a chance depending on the event: “What I can say is that we are at Spa this weekend. Promoters will come to my office. »

The Italian praises the work done to catch up after the 2021 fiasco due to the rain: “I must say that they prepared this weekend in an incredible way. Thursday there will be a special day with the drivers, who will be with the fans. We opened it to retrieve what happened there. last year they did something big. »

“And also in terms of the traffic plan, they presented us with a very interesting proposal. I think we’ve seen them take a very, very different approach this year. This is very useful to know and very important, especially for people who will be in Spa this weekend. »

“History is not enough” for Monza

Monza and the Italian Grand Prix still have their place among the 24 races on the 2023 calendar, but Domenicali warns that the circuit with the most F1 races in history is not guaranteed to retain its event. These circuits will always have their place at the negotiating table… but not on the calendar.

“There is a lot of respect for these places. But if you remember, Belgium, there were a few times when they weren’t in the schedule, and they came back. In Monza this year there will be the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Italian Grand Prix, it will be a great event. »

“But as an Italian, I always told them ‘be careful, history is not enough’. We must invest for a great future. Monza needs to do their job because they need to update their infrastructure, they need to update an iconic location and it needs to look to the future. »

“You can be assured that these places will always be part of discussions about the future, because it is the right thing to do. It’s something that, on their side too, can’t be taken for granted, that if you don’t do something, you’ll still be there, because that’s not right. »

A balanced calendar between four parts of the world

Domenicali therefore does not want to confirm that Spa-Francorchamps will have a guaranteed place on the calendar in the years to come, but he does not want to communicate on a potential danger concerning the Belgian Grand Prix.

“I would be careful with that comment, very careful. That’s the only thing I would say. It’s true that we are working and discussing with other promoters to see if they are ready to fully commit. »

“We’ve always discussed race balance, with at least a third in Europe, a third in the Far East and another in America and the Middle East, so we want to have that balance.

“Of course, we are talking about an activity where the investment, the financial contribution, is very important, but we have always said that the traditional races, the ones we know cannot bring in as much money as the others, have our respect. . »

“So you will see that it will also be respected, not only this year, but also in the future. And with Belgium, discussions are still ongoing. »

A return to Kyalami endorsed quickly?

The 2024 calendar is almost defined, and F1 should communicate it in the next two weeks, according to its CEO. The question of a return of South Africa, with a Grand Prix at Kyalami, is still open, while China must also return.

“I always say 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. Discussions are underway, you can imagine, we are discussing with new promoters. »

“What we’re looking for is a very solid and clear long-term commitment, because we can’t go for a year and then it’s game over. It is a situation that takes time. ”

“I think we will clarify this situation in the next few days, but for sure the commitment to be in Africa is something that we want to do, but we want to do it right. This is why the calendar will be defined. within the next two weeks at most. »

What about a possible German Grand Prix?

Domenicali recently slammed German promoters for their remarks about the lack of a Grand Prix across the Rhine, but the Italian seems determined to rekindle the country’s ties with F1.

“We really hope that Germany can be around the table again. But one thing is to say that we would like to have this Grand Prix. The other thing is to put on the table the things necessary to discuss the Grand Prix. Price. »

However, with promoters unable to pay as much as others, Germany will struggle to negotiate: “So hopefully there is something that could happen soon, but they will have a different situation to discuss with us. »

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