Belgium and France to share F1 race from 2013

2013 F1 calendar

Start, Paul Ricard, 1987

The 1987 French Grand Prix begins at Paul Ricard

The French Grand Prix is set to return to the F1 calendar at the Paul Ricard circuit, according to a report in L’Equipe.

The race will return to the calendar on alternate years, sharing a slot with the Belgian Grand Prix.

This means Spa-Francorchamps will only feature on the calendar in alternate years.

The French round will return to the calendar in 2013 at Paul Ricard, which last held an F1 race in 1990. The track held 14 world championship races beginning in 1971.

Thanks to Gwenouille for the tip.

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135 comments on Belgium and France to share F1 race from 2013

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  1. Nooooooo SPa

  2. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 28th August 2011, 11:04

    Bernie is so terrible for F1.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 28th August 2011, 11:07

      Agreed. I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt for too long now. That was the final straw.

      • I don’t understand why they need two GPs in Spain. Have the European GP at Paul Ricard. Spa is a great track with great history that drivers and fans love.

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 28th August 2011, 11:31

          If I recall, this was raised because Spa was having difficulty raising funds to pay the fees. While Spa is very popular on TV, it has poor attendance numbers due to accessibility issues.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th August 2011, 11:49

            I had a look into going to Spa this year and it didn’t strike me as being particularly accessible. Not that surprising given its in the middle of the Ardennes forest.

          • Well we have come for two years in a row and accessability is fine!

          • John Edwards said on 28th August 2011, 15:15

            Attenadance was over 100,000 in the pastm down near 65000 now.

            Its the ticket prices, just totally OTT.

          • Spa gets around 65000 spectators on race day, not silverstone sort of figures but still more than many circuits and around 64000 more than China, and bahrain! The figures in f1 just do not add up, Bernie can’t expect the same money in these economic times, he expects teams to survive on less and tracks to pay more but seemingly will not expect the same of himself! The sport is dying due to his greed.

          • Daniel Bigham said on 29th August 2011, 0:39

            It was extremely packed today, you couldnt get many more spectators on the hillsides, took us 3 hours to even get out of the place, although not helped by the local police’s inability to direct traffic in the direction they needed to go. Once out we were at Dunkirk in 3 hours, just on the ferry now.
            Getting there wasnt a problem either! We strolled off the E42 Thursday lunchtime and straight to the track without having to stop in any traffic or queues.

            To lose Spa to only once every 2 season would be catastrophic, it’s an amazing track. The lack of funding stricks a resemblance with the pay driver scenario currently infecting F1…the tracks/drivers of less calibre/quality seem to get all the backing necessary, whilst all the tracks attracting massive audiences (both live and on tv) and the best drivers who win as many championships as they can get their hands on both struggle to scrape together enough to fund Bernie’s greed.

            If Bernie was less greedy with the tv revenues then drivers wouldn’t have to pay, and if he wasn’t so blood-sucking towards the historic and quality tracks then we’d have by far and away the best calendar anybody could think of.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th August 2011, 11:36

        I agree, this is just too much. Probably the most-loved circuit on the calendar taken off every other year because the local government can’t afford to pay exorbitant fees. Yet Monaco gets it free (or at a very discounted cost, I think), well I’d rather have Spa every year than Monaco every year, no question.

        There’s no economic necessity to this, just pure unadulterated greed by CVC and Bernie. I’m happy we’re going to Paul Ricard (guess who owns that, by the way), but not at this price.

        • Spa is sacred ground.

          Between losing Spa and the Sky deal…. I think it’s time for Bernie to move on. As I said in a comment earlier in the week. I <3 Spa.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th August 2011, 18:50

            I only just saw the news having been away over the weekend. Incredibly disappointing. In the sky deal, wasn’t spa one of the circuits that the BBC were meant to get every year?

        • Deurmat said on 1st September 2011, 8:03

          Monaco get’s it for free? I hardly can believe this… Looks more like they pay more than most circuits.

    • I also agree.

    • Ben Curly said on 28th August 2011, 11:17

      I’d love to have French GP back, but not at the expense of Spa. We could easily do without Spanish GP and/or European GP, but instead Bernie gets rid of one of the best tracks in history! That’s ridiculous.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 28th August 2011, 18:36

      Why alternate? Why with Spa? Why not alternate Abu Dhabi and Bahrain for example?
      Poor, poor choice.

      • $$$$$$$$$

        Cashed up Middle Eastern countries.

        Why would Bernie only have one cashed up Middle Eastern country pay for a race each season when he can have two?!?

  3. very sad news, spa is one of the best tracks on the calendar, great race track

    why not have the french gp share the european gp with the boring valencia track.

    • F1fan55 said on 28th August 2011, 11:24

      Well, at least Spa will retain its magic and mystique with it being visited only every 2 years….

      Nope, I tried to find a positive but couldn’t. This just sucks!

  4. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 28th August 2011, 11:05

    Worst F1 news I’ve ever read.

  5. spursfan39 said on 28th August 2011, 11:06

    Really hope this is false. As much as I would like France to be back on the calender, I don’t want it alternating with Spa. Wish they would get rid of a crap circuit -Valencia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, etc. But unfortunately that’s not the way it works :/

  6. The bad news just keeps on rolling in…

  7. Could they not brand it as the European GP and share it with Valencia?

    At least that way we’d only have to put up with a crap GP once every two years.

  8. Harvs (@harvs) said on 28th August 2011, 11:07

    NNNNNNoooooooooooooooooooooo!

  9. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 28th August 2011, 11:08

    The F1 I know and love is disappearing infront of us. PLEASE make France replace Valencia, not share with Spa!

    • alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 28th August 2011, 11:12

      And WHY Paul Ricard? I thought that place was known for not being particularly spectator friendly in recent years? Le Mans could’ve been a better option.

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 28th August 2011, 11:22

        What? The Bugatti track? One of the worst in the world IMHO. Paul Ricard is much better, and the only option for F1 in France. And the Paul Ricard was almost never used for racing in recent years but was rather a test track due to its many configurations. Just build decent grandstands there and we can go racing. Not that I approve sharing with Spa at all. Damn Bernie E$$el$tone.

        • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 28th August 2011, 11:34

          I think alexf1man might have meant the longer and more famous Le Mans track – though I believe there are road closure and homologation issues with going there.

          Paul Ricard is a poor decision because of a lack of grandstands. It gets away with Le Mans Series because the audience is so much lower, but there’s no way 100,000 people are going to accept all being “general admission”, especially not at the prices Bernie is likely to charge (he owned the track, last I checked). Better to wait until the track is ready to host a Grand Prix, or some other French track is available.

          As for sharing with Spa… …Spa deserves a full-time slot. Without it the championship will be missing a serious challenge. If it’s got to share, why not with somewhere like one of the tracks in Spain, Turkey or Germany (the first one has 2 mediocre-at-best tracks, the second is a great track with poor attendence which may benefit from doing an alternate-year arrangement and the third is accustomed to sharing and knows how to make it work).

          • There’s no way they’ll get even close to 100,000 spectators anyway. Spa gets something like 50k on race day iirc. There seems to be a lot of talk about the “best track in F1″, but no one really bothers going there.

          • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 28th August 2011, 11:48

            I’d agree about the 24hrs track at Le Mans, but we might as well dream of racing at the Nordschleife. Will never happen.

            Also, it takes but a couple of months to build grandstands. There was an interview with the circuit director a few years ago, where he said that the track could be ready for racing in no time.

      • Bernie owns Paul Ricard, IIRC, and that would mean he’ll be paying money to himself, if such a thing is possible…

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 11:37

        And WHY Paul Ricard?

        Because there is nowhere else to go. The teams hate going to Magny-Cours because of the limited access. Dijon, Paul Armangnac and Charade would need major work. Rouen does not exist anymore. Pau is too short and too narrow. Flins-Lis Mureaux was rejected before it was even built. There’s a shortage of circuits in France, and Paul Ricard is the only one capable of holding races that the teams would actually like.

        Fortunately, it’s a good circuit.

        Le Mans could’ve been a better option.

        The French Grand Prix went to Le Mans-Bugatti in 1967 … and everyone agreed that it would be better if they pretended it never happened.

        • Lachie said on 28th August 2011, 11:59

          To be fair though that’s when they compared Le Mans Bugatti to tracks like Reims, Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand. The standard of ‘spectacular’ for circuits has dropped over the years.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 12:02

            Maybe. But based on what I’ve seen of Le Mans-Bugatti, it makes Abu Dhabi look like high art. All of the corners are practically identical; it’s more Barcelona than Barcelona.

          • In the age of Tilke Barcelona is a breath of fresh air.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th August 2011, 15:40

            The Bugatti circuit at LeMans really is not what we need in F1. Paul Ricard has the biggest disadvantage in its lack of grandstands (suppose those can be built up though) and being relatively remote as well.

            The bigger issue is Spa not being on each year, that is a really big shame, even if it heading this way for a few months now.

  10. Oh no why…Spa supposed to be in every years.

  11. WORST NEWS!!

    I agree with Ben, why can’t they call brand the French Grand Prix as the European GP and alternate with Valencia? That would make MUCH more sense..

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 11:26

      why can’t they call brand the French Grand Prix as the European GP and alternate with Valencia?

      Contracts. For all the flak that he takes, Bernie has never broken a contract before. If he suddenly starts now, it’s a poor precedent.

      • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 28th August 2011, 11:36

        That is true. It could surely have been arranged, but the start date might have been too far away for France (or indeed Belgium, if this has been sparked by a Bernie fee hike).

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 11:43

          (or indeed Belgium, if this has been sparked by a Bernie fee hike)

          It hasn’t been. The fee for a Grand Prix is fixed for seven years before a new contract comes around. The first year of the second contract – the eighth race – doubles the cost of the previous race, but then the ninth race to the fourteenth race take place at a reduced cost. When the second contract begins, the organisers effectively pay for two races – but the reduced amount for all the subsequent races means that, by the end of the second contract, they will have paid the same amount for every race. They just pay that money slightly differently. The hike in fees for the eighth race is just there as a show of commitment.

  12. Enigma (@enigma) said on 28th August 2011, 11:12

    An F1 season without Spa????

  13. PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 28th August 2011, 11:12

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

  14. What on earth is happening to this sport?

  15. matt88 (@matt88) said on 28th August 2011, 11:14

    crazy decision, why not Valencia alternating with Barcelona instead? 1 boring race is enough, while Spa is the best circuit in the calendar.
    Uncle Bernie, you didn’t have to do this to the fans…

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