Spa signs new race deal until 2021

The future of the Belgian Grand Prix has been secured until the end of 2021 after F1 signed a new contract with Spa Grand Prix.

The race takes place on one of the calendar’s most fearsome and impressive circuits — Spa-Francorchamps — and its current contract was due to expire after this year’s event. The news means the popular race will remain on the F1 calendar for at least another three seasons.

F1’s owners Liberty Media have stated their commitment to retaining grands prix in the sport’s European heartland and a press release outlined the importance of the circuit to F1.

“The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of the most history-laden, loved and legendary venues in Formula One, as it hosted its first F1 race in 1950,” the statement said. “As the sport continues to expand globally, heritage circuits such as Spa will continue to form a key component of Formula One’s core values and memories, alongside newer destinations on the calendar.”

Chloe Targett-Adams, director of promoters and business relations at Formula One added: “We are really pleased to have reached this agreement which means that the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix will stay on the calendar for a further three years.

“Formula One was born in Europe and the future of this sport needs to maintain its solid roots, while expanding globally and Spa-Francorchamps is part of that fantastic history.

“We are particularly pleased that the new agreement is an improvement on the previous one, for Formula One and for our partner Spa Grand Prix so that fans attending this race will enjoy a truly unforgettable experience.”

The race was twice left off the calendar in the 2000s, once in 2003 due to a dispute over tobacco advertising and once in 2006. However, Pierre Yves-Jeholet, the local minister of the economy in Walloon, said the new deal makes economic sense for the area.

“This is a good deal which makes sure that such an important event stays in our region, thus placing us on a global visibility platform.

“The regional and national economic benefit is significant: in 2017 we had a return on investment of 315% and ticket sales increased by 7.5%. It is also a significant first for us as we have now concluded a successful and rewarding negotiation with Formula One.”

The deal means that of the existing circuits on the calendar, only Hockenheim and Suzuka do not have a deal for 2019.

Meanwhile, F1 is also working hard to bring a street race to Miami next year after plans were approved by the city commission in May.

www.espn.com – RPM

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