"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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Published: 25/08/2022
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