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"History is not enough," warns Domenicali


While offering hope that Spa may yet retain its place on the 2023 calendar, Stefano Domenicali warns that none of the classic circuits can rely on their history alone to guarantee a round of the world championship.

The F1 boss was speaking ahead what many fear may be the last race at Spa-Francorchamps, which only a year ago was voted the fans (and drivers') favourite track.

"As you can imagine I cannot comment too much on that, because there is respect of discussing and formalising through the World Motor Sport Council with the FIA," he told members of the media today, when asked about the future of F1 at Spa.

"You never saw something from me saying that Belgium will be the last year," he pointed out. "I would be prudent on that comment, I would say, I would be very prudent. That's the only thing I would say.

"It's true that we are working and discussing with other promoters to see if they're ready for a full commitment already. There has been always a point that we have discussed to find the mix of the races where we're going to have at least one-third in Europe, one third in the Far East area, and the other one in the Americas and Middle East. So we want to be balanced.

"We're talking about a business where investment, the financial contribution, is very important, but we have always said that the traditional races, the races that we know they cannot bring the money that the others are bringing, have a full respect from us. So you will see that this will be respected also, not only this year, but also in the future. With Belgium, discussions are still on.

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

"The memory sometimes is short. It's a great place, no doubt about it. And that's why we are discussing. What I can say is that we are in Spa this weekend. So you will see them a lot of times in my office," he added, referring to the event's promoters.

Amidst speculation that France's round of the world championship could relocate to Nice, he said: "We are talking with the French Federation, and with the government, because more and more the future also is related to promoters that see that as investment for the country, for the community.

"So the discussions are very, very open for a great future. And as you know, a possibility not next year but in the future could be also to find a sort of rotational proposition that could enable everyone to be part of the calendar. Because I think it's a matter of respect."

With the rubber-stamping of the 2026 power unit regulations, which are expected to see Volkswagen approve Audi and Porsche entering F1, Domenicali hopes that Germany may return to the schedule.

"We really hope that Germany can be back around the table," he said. "But one thing is to say is we'd like to have the German Grand Prix, the other thing is to put on the table the things that are needed to discuss about the Grand Prix. So hopefully soon - with something that could happen soon - they will have a different situation to discuss with us."

However, before anyone gets carried away, the F1 boss had a stark warning to deliver.

"You can be assured these places will always be part of the discussions for the future," he said. "But this is something that also on their side cannot be taken for granted, that if you don’t do anything you will always be there. Because that is not right.

"Monza will be a celebration this year of the 100th anniversary of the Italian Grand Prix but as an Italian I always say to them: 'History is not enough. We need to invest for a great future'. Monza need to do their job, they need to update the structure, to update a place that is iconic but there is a need to look ahead."

Revealing that the 2023 schedule will be released in the "coming weeks", Domenicali said that at 24 races it will be the busiest in the sport's history.


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1. Posted by phantom, 26/08/2022 2:42

"I recall how some years ago I read a review of a concert I didn't attend. The reviewer applauded the performance of the group, and finished with: 'Well, the music was fine, just what I expected, but the *show* wasn't very good. It took a lot away from the spectacle.' (emphasis mine)

It seems Liberty wants races that function well as postcards. That's a drag, because if the cars get any bigger they'll have to repave Monaco, which is currently their best postcard. I gave up watching races six years ago because the races were boring 90% of the time. I catch highlights and am much happier with MotoGP."

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2. Posted by alvarezh3, 25/08/2022 18:37


Most, if not all the people that read and/or post here are interested in the race, the competition. Unfortunately, it looks like that for the majority of the followers of the sport, it's not the case. Liberty knows this, and plans their sales strategy based on what produces them the most financial gain. We, the minority, are not to be taken into account. Furthermore, they most likely give a dam if true racers see the spectacle or not, we (comparatively) constitute such a small number that we can be disposable as long as "the show" provided by the pool, the fake beach and marina in Miami, produces more money.

You see in Japan how the young Japanese girls go to the race to get an autograph of not their favorite driver, but their favorite man, Kimi Raikkonen.

Likewise you see hundreds of orange fans at the European races rooting for their countryman, not the racer. They probably care very little on what else is going on during the race unless it can influence Verstappen.

You and I are and probably everyone here is interested in the dicing between competitors even if it does not involve anyone's particular favorite driver/team.

And it' not just in auto racing, take the Olympics as an example. You can almost bet your life that most viewers of the games are there to root for their country, not there to enjoy the competition per se, for them, it's the result that matters, not how it was achieved."

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3. Posted by LiamIII, 25/08/2022 16:12

"Let's be honest, the current cars aren't really F1 cars, they're hybrids. So lets televise some races at all the favorite venues, with real F1 cars, who cares whose driving (I really don't) I just want to hear the cars and see side by side racing. When I walk through the pits at an NHRA event the racing fuel smell and excessive overlap cams on the "door cars", it's just the best. Drifting clouds of burnt rubber, the sweet smell of unburnt nitro fills the air. Just a wonderful day for all (except the little guy racer).

Let them take their sponsor money from whomever has it (Saudi, tobacco, alcohol, who really cares). We just want loud fast cars with danger lurking. I'm less than an inch, ok 3mm, from just bailing on the whole thing. Just too boring and political correctness filled nonsense. Spoiled brat drivers that are reckless with no risk of self harm just reinforces this rubbish. I guess the dirt track sprint cars are where it's at for now if I want real drama and excitement. "

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4. Posted by ancient70!, 25/08/2022 10:50

"Ok, I do not care in which country a race is held, I love watching racing at the Nurburgring (the old one) because its an incredibly challenging track, not because it is in Germany! I agree with @ kenji, the racing is dying because for the show and the money you have to be seen in the right places, “glamorous” Miami ??? I cant wait for Las Vegas, the lights, the glitz, and the showbiz!! And they are driving some cars through the streets! Oh yes that had been tried before, in a carpark, just like Miami? It apparently was such a hit that it was never repeated. I have been following F1 since the early 60’s, but I increasingly find it harder as the race weekend approaches to hit the play or record button on the tv remote. The racing is closer this year so that is some conciliation, but if races like Spa fall off the calendar, it may require just too much effort to hit the buttons! As a postscript, I see Domenicalli’s comment on our poor memory, and that Spa had been missing for some time in the past. Now my memory is no longer the brightest, but I do remember that, and the reason, lack of money!!! "

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 25/08/2022 10:40

It's not about what I think, or indeed what people in democratic nations "think" about these places. The crux is that Saudi, Russia, China et al all BELIEVE that Sports washing works: as did one Adolf Hitler. That's why they are prepared to stump up ludicrous amounts of cash to hold a once-a-year minority entertainment like F1. Recent, even more expensive Saudi involvement in Golf supports this view.

To use a (rather appropriate) analogy, Sports washing is like advertising.
The advertiser tries to present the best view of their product, usually with warm, fuzzy images of the product in use suggesting that it's not merely "normal" to use it, but also aspirational, maybe even "good" in some way. When Joe & Jolene Public sees all those happy chappies in National dress behaving genially & enjoying the sport it sells the story that Country X is a "normal" happy place.
There's no sign of the murders, floggings, beheadings, incarcerations without trial, maltreatment of women or exploitation of indentured Labourers here....

Most of us are immune to most these blandishments & they go straight into the LIFO queue in our brains. This is irrelevant because huge corporations, Nations, Dodgy Businessmen, despotic regimes (& the local Vegan Restaurant) don't spend money for no ROI.
Advertising works & you can be pretty sure that Sports washing does too.

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6. Posted by kenji, 25/08/2022 9:02

" @ Spindoctor, do you seriously think that this so called 'sportswashing' has any real life effect in what people think about the host country and their politics? F1 may be experiencing a tidal wave of growth but I thinlk that you over estimate the sports/business influence on a global scale. Methinks that there's possibly an element of 'projection' here."

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7. Posted by Spindoctor, 25/08/2022 8:31

"As far as one can tell from what is said, these decisions are likely to be based on the "profitability" of venues. Racing at most of these new places (can hardly call some of them "Tracks") is inferior to that at historic venues and there is none of the sense of occasion.

It's well-known that "Sports Washing" is top of the agenda for many Nations wishing to host F1, naturally these states will pay way over the odds to secure the Races. Saudi & other OPEC members are currently supporting Russia's economic warfare against the West by limiting production\raising prices, not to mention their Human Rights abuses. A purely profit-motivated FIA\Liberty seems blind to these issues."

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8. Posted by Greg, 25/08/2022 7:39

"Money always talks the loudest. Would be shameful to lose the classic tracks because of lack of funding. The new street circuits are OK but nothing compared to Spa, Silverstone and the likes."

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9. Posted by alvarezh3, 25/08/2022 2:47

"@ Kenji

Maybe I didn't read you correctly, if so, accept my apologies. But the reason for the importance of the venue, is precisely because it influences what you personally desire: A good quality race. No?"

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10. Posted by kenji, 25/08/2022 2:09

"What I find most disturbing in all this discussion is that nowhere have I seen the mention of actual quality racing!!! Surely the single most important aspect to be taken in to account is that single issue....the race.Who actually gives a flying mouse t--d where it is held? "

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11. Posted by alvarezh3, 25/08/2022 0:58

"The reason Austin is viable is because the State of Texas has a fund for special events that (I hear) pays COA US$25,000.00 a year.
The Arab races with their huge government payments have kicked the European racetracks out of the series 'cause without their government financial support, they simply can't compete.
I read a few years ago that the contract between the FIA and FOM stipulates that there must be a minimum number (don't recall how many) of European races on the calendar.
Domenicali says 1/3 of the races in Europe out of 24 total is 8 races.
Anyhow I am praying on Belgium, hopefully we can keep it."

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12. Posted by Kkiirmki, 25/08/2022 0:20

"So in other words: What I said before about it not being all about money was BS?"

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