Start, Paul Ricard, 1987

Belgium and France to share F1 race from 2013

2013 F1 calendarPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

View the 2012 F1 calendar.

2012 F1 calendar

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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

    1. This is terrible news, catastrophic!!!

      1. whats going on with this sport(?!)?

        1. This is insane. This is a fan favourite and it can not be dropped…ever!
          Maybe we need to start some sort of signature campaign to stop this from happening!

  1. Bernie is so terrible for F1.

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

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

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

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

            Its the ticket prices, just totally OTT.

          4. 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.

          5. Daniel Bigham
            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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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?

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

    2. I also agree.

    3. 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.

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

      1. $$$$$$$$$

        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?!?

  2. 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.

    1. 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!

  3. Worst F1 news I’ve ever read.

    1. Besides, France basically already have a Grand Prix.

    2. On a par with F1 not being completely on free to air (for the UK and all those who use the commentary).

      Best news would be: Bernie sells his F1 shares to the teams.

    3. You’re dead right, mate. But what can we do?. Nothing’s enough for this annoying “I have a big wallet already but I want a bigger one” short bloke.

  4. 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 :/

  5. The bad news just keeps on rolling in…

  6. 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.

    1. How dare you talk sensibly!
      This is Bernie’s decision, after all.

  7. NNNNNNoooooooooooooooooooooo!

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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).

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

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

        1. Seems like a deal he’d do, doesn’t it?

      3. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

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

          3. 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.

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

  10. 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..

    1. 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.

      1. 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).

        1. (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.

  11. An F1 season without Spa????

    1. 2006? although that was because the rubbish new Bus Stop wasn’t finished.

      1. And 2003, due to tobacco laws (Belgium was ahead of the game and the teams unanimously voted not to bend the Concorde Agreement any further to accommodate).

  12. FFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

  13. What on earth is happening to this sport?

    1. In the last 12 months, F1 has headed for a path of short-termism. It’s making it very difficult to support.

  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…

    1. why not Valencia alternating with Barcelona instead?

      Because their contracts prevent it from happening.

      1. Have you not noticed that for Bernie, contracts mean nothing? I’m just saying that if Bernie wanted it to happen. It would.

        1. Have you not noticed that for Bernie, contracts mean nothing?

          No, I haven’t noticed it. Because Bernie has never dropped a race simply because he got a better offer from someone else.

  15. Awful decision. Would have been much better to alternate with Valencia.

    1. Except that it’s not possible.

      Why don’t people understand this?

  16. It’s extremely disappointing that the calendar for alternate years will not feature Spa, one of the greatest tracks still used for the sport.

    However, a thought that occurred to me after the disappointment set in was that amongst a growing calendar of Tilkedromes, having Spa at all (if indeed this agreement secures its future) has to be good.

  17. For me, Spa is the best race on the calender, the circuit has character, its a drivers circuit, the weather is like a joker card, everyone else loves it, on F1 2010 it was epic to drive, and lewis always seems to do well there.

    Sorry Bernie, (actually im not) thats the final straw

  18. Paul Buchanan
    28th August 2011, 11:19

    At the end of the day it is bad news, as with most decisions bernie makes. But what is the point in complaining cause it will make no difference. Just like the BBC sky deal. Bernie needs to go but I can’t see that happening until he falls down the stairs. So while we all wait for that u either watch f1 and accept all the bad decisions or go and watch a proper sport run properly such as moto gp, wsb or bsb.

    1. sbk instead of motoGP

  19. bernie just made a couple of millions!!

  20. Another awful decision that will only help fill the pockets of the top men in the sport. We can only dread of the day when we’ll have a 20 race season with only one European race that will alternate between the UK, Monaco, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, France, Turkey…

    It sounds pretty ridiculous, but start thinking realistically of the day when we’ll only have about 5 European races, it’s not that far away. This year it’s 10, next year it will be 9…

    1. that kind of attitude you have is also what drives non-europeans out of f1. There are a lot of tracks outside of europe (Kyalami, aussie tracks, the glen…) and the main issue is not f1 going away from europe but f1 going to bad tracks outside of europe

      1. That’s clearly true. Losing most of the historic tracks would be sad loss, but if they were replaced by awesome new tracks it would not be nearly so bad.

  21. Everyone is going to complain about the loss of Spa. But let’s face facts here – nothing seems to be working to save the race. They get sponsorship, they get government subsidies, they get all manner of financial assistance, and yet there seems to bea permanent cloud over the event. Initiatives that work for other circuits have no effect, and everybody seems to be blaming Bernie instead of asking why. Spa isn’t paying as much as other races, but it’s still struggling. Doesn’t anybody else find this strange? Under this arrangement, at least Formula 1 will still be able to visit Spa. And it’s not like the circuit is alternating with somewhere like Abu Dhabi; Paul Ricard is a great circuit itself.

    1. And it’s owned by Bernie, I suspect that may have something to do with his decision. Saying that, it’s probably the best circuit in France (Magny-Cours is terrible).

      1. Saying that, it’s probably the best circuit in France (Magny-Cours is terrible).

        Magny-Cous and Paul Ricard are the only circuits in France that could host the race.

    2. You’re right to bring up these points, but we’ve now had a big issue with TV rights here in the UK and now we have this announcement about Spa and they are both completely the opposite to what the fans want. Bernie will come out and explain about how this was something he didn’t want to do but felt he had to to even keep Spa on the calendar in any form. That suggests to me that he needs to go, because clearly his business model and way of doing business just isn’t producing the results that the fans want and the sport needs. If the fans become more and more disillusioned, how is F1 going to survive long-term?

      1. now we have this announcement about Spa and they are both completely the opposite to what the fans want

        I actually suspect Spa’s noise curfew is to blame. One of the ways a circuit can offset the costs of a race is to host support races. Those events usually pay a fee to the circuit, which gets put towards the initial sanctioning fee.

        However, because residents complained about it, Spa has a noise curfew (seriously, who moves close to a racing circuit and then whinges about the noise? They should know what they’re getting themselves into.). This means that there can be less support races – GP3 had one forty-five minute practice session instead of two half-hour sessions because of the curfew – which means it’s harder to attract support events, which in turn means there is less money going to the circuit, and less money to offset the initial cost.

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          28th August 2011, 23:23

          (seriously, who moves close to a racing circuit and then whinges about the noise? They should know what they’re getting themselves into.)

          You’d be surprised PM, people tend to try and moan about everything, it’s always someone else’s fault. A similar thing occured here in NZ (granted rugby instead of motorsport), residents around the stadium complained about people parking on the roads thus preventing them from doing the same. So what does the council do, put parking restrictions there so people who live further away get the problem instead of those who live right next door.

          1. Jarred Walmsley
            28th August 2011, 23:25

            oops, slight quote problem there, you get the drift anyway

    3. One of the problems is that Spa has struggled to get the attendence. It gots nearly as many spectators for this year’s Le Mans Series race as for last year’s F1. I do wonder if better access routes and stuff being nearer (including much better public transport links, plentiful non-camping places to stay that are not 30 minutes’ drive away and camping less than an hour’s walk from the circuit) would help Spa’s cause. It certainly helped Silverstone and not attending to such difficulties helped seal Magny-Couers’ and Istanbul’s fates.

      The best circuit in the world is going to struggle to get spectators if they cannot get to the circuit in the first place.

      I have a feeling that Bernie money was the prime motivator for this deal, but you are right to say attendence is a major problem that Spa must tackle to grow, and it would have been even without the fee issue.

      1. I agree with you that Spa not getting that big a crowd makes it hard to make ends meet. Access is part of that, on the other hand Spa tickets are more expensive than those for the German GP events, for example.

        Those noise requirements PM mentions will also hurt the prospects of Spa to get the economics working.
        In the end, I think Bernie is right here, that if this deal secures Spa stays in the program at least every second year, we can be relieved about that.

        1. Well said, Spa once every two years is better than no Spa at all, and I think it is likely it couldn’t afford to do it each year for much longer, so this might be good news, even if it is sad to hear it.

          It is also good to have France back on the calender. Not sure about the merits of Paul Ricard, but I guess they don’t have another candidate that is better at the moment.

    4. Exactly my thoughts. I would much rather have Spa every other year than never at all, and at least it’s sharing the race with a decent track, with some history behind it.

      1. In an ideal world, Spa and Paul Ricard would get their own calendar spots. But if it’s not possible, then the two races alternating with one another is the next best alternative. Especially if the long term future of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps would be in jeopardy.

  22. People are looking at this from the wrong perspective.

    As it stands, Spa cannot afford the grand prix. Therefore, surely its better to have a race there every other year than not having one at all?

    Yes, we all agree that Bernie should get rid of some of the ‘less good’ tracks on the calendar but at the end of the day he has to run F1 as a business. If he’s making money from the new venues then that’s how any prudent businessman would run it.

    A deal alternating events probably isn’t an entirely logical decision from him (why have the fuss of two venues when you could have one who would pay more elsewhere?). So in that respect he might even have saved Spa. Lets just look forward to it when it comes around.

    It’s also great that France once again have a grand prix.

    1. Sharing a race means halving income without halving expenditure. Normally that makes an affordability situation worse.

      Bernie has to run F1 as a business – which means he has to run it considering the long-term as well as the short-term. Due to previously-taken decisions, the short-term is not a problem. All the problem is long-term, so really Bernie should have been prepared to take a little reduction in income now, develop Spa’s and Paul Ricard’s respective capacities for racing (by helping Spa convince the government to improve access and putting some grandstands up at Paul Ricard), and then be able to charge both more when they are ready to take it. That way, by the end of the decade F1 would be more valuable than it will be through standard management, let alone this “short-termist” methodology that is starting to fail. Bernie’s already set himself up for a massive loss in TV revenue stream; the last thing he needs is to send signals that he cannot keep circuits his series needs.

      1. That would have made it a really positive and future oriented deal. But I fear Bernie is not looking that far into the future, as you say.

      2. That sounds like a solid long term plan, which FOTA, and maybe FIA should work towards. Like you and Bas, I too don’t think Bernie is doing thinking about that sort of long term.

    2. France already has a Grand Prix, unless you seriously want to argue that Monaco is not a French city in all but name.

      1. unless you seriously want to argue that Monaco is not a French city

        I do. Monaco is recognised as an independent nation. Therefore, the city within Monaco’s borders is considered to be Monegasque – the demonym for the people of Monaco – and not French.

  23. Bernie owns Paul Ricard? Errrr conflict of interest, esp considering the recent corruption allegations!

    Besides that it’s a terrible decision anyway, nearly as bad as a mere 5 place grid drop for Maldonado.

    1. Errrr conflict of interest, esp considering the recent corruption allegations!

      Not at all. For some reason, people assume the money from circuit sanctioning fees goes straight into Bernie’s pocket. It does not. It goes to FOM, who distribute it out to pre-determined receipients. Bernie gets a cut, but it’s only a small percentage.

      1. Bernie’s “pre-determined” amount is quite substantial.

      2. FOM or Bernie…not big difference

        1. All the difference in the world. Circuit sanctioning fees get paid out to cover infrastructure, transport, marketing, paying of CVC and half a dozen other expenditures.

          1. He is awarding an F1 contract to his own circuit, which is obviously going to generate him income as the circuit owner. Whilst the circuit pays FOM for the right to stage the GP, it clearly makes money from the event at the same time, and out of the money it does pay to FOM, Bernie gets a cut! I call corruption.

  24. I think this was a good decision. France and Paul Ricard deserve a spot in the F1 calendar. It’s not like Spa has been taken away from us, and we’ve managed without Spa for a couple of seasons beforehand.

    Alternating between Hockenheim and Nurburgring kept those circuits going.

    Of course, once the Valencia contract runs out, it should be booted out, and replaced by French GP proper, in my opinion.

  25. When will Bernie do F1 a favour and die? The old codger is screwing the sport!

    1. How disrespectful. For one, you don’t know the details of the situation and if it wasn’t for Bernie the sport would not be what it is today, at least from a commercial point of view.

      Get some perspective, this is only sport. You’re talking about someone’s life.

    2. How do you know Bernie is to blame?

    3. Stupidest comment of the day.

      1. Would it be prudent to mention Bernie is only a figure-head and a non executive employee of CVC, who own the rights to Formula 1. He sold his controlling stake some time ago, but remained as part of the terms of the sale.

        I just came back from Spa, it was packed,so ‘circuit access’ and tickets prices are not the issue.

        The issue is Formula 1 must balance the need to retain historic tracks which are central to its appeal with the need to make money to support the teams in the franchise, and to make money for the owners and its shareholders.

        The reason the ‘crap’ races are not under the spotlight is because the funding comes in regardless of the viewing numbers/ attendance in that country. Spa/ Silverstone/ Monza/ Monaco etc are already given relatively lower fees in order to try and keep the on the calendar because CVC realises the eurpean govt.s will not cover the losses like the Chinese govt do.

        The reason the Spa event is under threat is because it doesn’t have a successful business model:

        Spa francorchamps pay CVC (not Bernie) $25 million per year to host an F1 race.

        100,000 spectators* $150 average entrance price =$15 million tops. When the Shell sponsor money and govt subsidy doesn’t cover the difference, Spa gets dropped. Same as Turkey, the same reason Nurburgring/ Hockenheim alternate every year, the same thing is happening down in Melbourne too.

        Sad, because Spa is one of the best, but this is the reality. Bernie has nothing to do with it. And try actually paying to attend an F1 event, then it will be worth listening to you all moan about expense. When all said and done, CVC is selling an valuable product that’s in demand, you would do the same in that situation.

        Ow and Maldonado is one lucky man and that stunt.

        Rant over

  26. In a way this is Bernie fault but he wouldn’t want this in an ideal world, it’s just he charges so much for a circuit contract it’s the only way tracks can keep their races on the calender.

  27. We don’t know the details of this deal so I’m going to reserve proper judgment. We know Spa is poorly attended and at the end of the day this has to work for all involved.

  28. Everyone is saying this news is bad – personally I think it’s great news. It means that we’re guaranteed races at Spa in the future, which we couldn’t really say before because of the circuit’s money issues. It also means we get to have a race in France! Unfortunately it’s at Paul Ricard rather than Magny-Cours – which I thought was a wonderful circuit (even if it didn’t produce great racing). I’ve never actually seen a race at Paul Ricard, and I’m not a hundred percent on the layout they’ll be using, because it has loads, as it was built specially as a test track. I’m quite looking forward to it!

  29. You are welcom Keith !

    I feel sorry for Spa, it is such a nice track…
    Why not alternate with one of the spanish borefests ???

  30. well, it is a shame to get spa only every second year, but the problem was simple : spa (or whoever is in charge of the circuit) loses money every time they organise a GP because bernie is asking for too much.

    So instead of losing yet another great track, todt fought for a compromise : we keep spa and we get back a french GP, on a famous track, to share the costs.

    after all is not a bad news. it shows that Todt wants to keep the f1 in its historical countries.
    we already lost imola and hockenheim. monza is not looking good. interlagos and suzuka neither.

    1. Nowhere is looking good, except Silverstone, China and Valencia (those three tracks have really long deals).

      1. Kind of understandable given how screwed up the global economy has been in the past 3 years.

  31. Ridiculous situation. Don’t the concorde agreement protect the “classic tracks” from being taken out of the calendar? Or is it just a myth?

    Anyway, I think Formula 1 loses too much without Spa. People say Monaco is the spiritual home of F1, with its glamour, seaside views, narrow corners, etc, etc, and it’s not wrong.

    On the other hand, I think the true spirit of F1 is on long tracks that cross european woods and hills and valleys in local roads connecting small towns (after all, Spa circuit is in fact “Spa-Francorchamps”).

    I know there’s nothing like that anymore, but the closest example still standing is Spa-Francorchamps track, with ist 7km. Nurburgring by now is common autodrome.

    My only hope is that, with the soverign debt crisis, Spain won’t be able to host two Grand Prix per season for too long, and then one of its tracks might be taken out once their contracts expire, so Spa can come back to its permanent slot.

    In fact, my best hope is that it is just a fake rumor…

    1. Don’t the concorde agreement protect the “classic tracks” from being taken out of the calendar? Or is it just a myth?

      Myth. The Concorde Agreement sets out the commercial arrangement between FOM and the teams. It has no power to influence the calendar. And even if it did, having Spa every other year technically satisfies the requirement that “classic circuits” remain on the calendar.

      1. Ok. And it’s sad… :(

  32. I believe this when I see it happen!

  33. Well, I’d rather have Spa once every two years thatn never again, so it’s sort of a good thing. But how do we go about getting Spa back on to the calendar permanently? Simple, we all buy tickets for the Belgian/French GP’s from 2013 and continue to do so for so long as it takes for the business cases of these races to justify booting out one of the “boring races”! Come on F1F’s let’s make it happen! ;)

  34. Why don’t people understand that swapping Paul Ricard with somewhere like Valencia or Bahrain is simply not possible? Spa is obviously the only circuit on the calendar where this is a) feasible under the terms of the contract, and b) the organisers are willing to do it.

  35. It’s great to see Paul Ricard back, though we’ve yet to see which of the umteen thousand layouts they will use.

    I would gladly have traded Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Valencia all together just for Paul Ricard.

    … but not Spa!

  36. Paul Ricard is a good circuit, but you just cant do this to Spa. Get rid of valencia, and replace it with Paul Ricard. NO ONE LIKES VALENCIA, ITS ABSOLUTE CRAP

  37. Awful news. But better than what we were hearing last year (or the year before?), that we might lose Spa completely.

    It’s a business. Bernie doesn’t give a damn about anything else. But however many times I try to bang that into my head, it just doesn’t stick. His decisions continually seem morally wrong because they so often go against the wishes of F1 fans.

    How many years of contracts on crap circuits do we have left? :O(

    1. His decisions continually seem morally wrong because they so often go against the wishes of F1 fans.

      I think it’s not only a “moral” issue, but taken Spa or other classic tracks out might be wrong even in the business point of view.

      Without Spa, the “spetacle” loses, the “show” is not as good as it is with cars crossing Eau Rouge flat out.

      Sponsors pay for the show to happen, but the fans (viewers/consumers?) are the reason why sponsors pay for.

      If the viewing figures decrease (isn’t it the other topic?) that sponsors will be less interested.

      I honestly thing that if we have 20 Barcelonas, or Budapests, or Shangais, or Abu Dhabis on the calendar, and no Spas, Suzukas, Interlagos, Montreals, or Silverstones, then many viewers will leave the sport (me included, probably).

      1. oops, “I honestly ‘think'”!

  38. FFS NOOOOOOOO

  39. You disappoint me, Bernie

    1. How do you know it was Bernie? You have no proof. For all we know, it was Spa’s idea to do this race-sharing.

  40. Jack van den Berg-Hider
    28th August 2011, 16:17

    I really cannot get my head around the need for there to a European Grand Prix and especially that Grand Prix to be held at one of the most uncharacterising and pretty muchn boring track. Who really wants to watch a race where all you see is concrete, boats and really boring racing. I’m 18 and I can run F1 better than Bernie. Although he is from Bungay. Hmm. But I can see the logical solution to this problem being that the Europeam GP is held at Paul Ricard. Spa is saved and Valenica is scraped.

    This decision as well as the Sky deal, will surely ruin F1 in England. I for one shall be not watching next year.

  41. Accesibility issues for Spa… Well I’m sorry but that sounds like a load of BS to me, I have been to Spa 2 years ago and yes the roads aren’t that great, but then so what, it’s not like you’re commuting there every day for your job, you go there once a year at the most for the GP, so people should stop worrying about great facilities and accesability, if they want that then they should visit Abu Dhabi so they can fall asleep thanks to a boring track hosting a boring track, I watch F1 for the beautiful tracks such as Spa hosting great races, that’s why I love the sport, not because a track has easy access or an airconditioned paddock…

  42. Wait.. why was this necessary again? To axe (every two years of cause) one of the oldest and most loved race circuits in F1 in favor of Paul Ricard?..
    Paul Ricard might not be a bad circuit compared to the standard of the current F1 tracks around and i am glad to get the French GP back, but it will be a total disaster when they alternate it with Spa.
    Who will ever like that circuit then? I won’t because i know what i could have if they went to Spa instead.
    I know Belgium have trouble raising the money, but mind you. Sometimes Bernie needs to do what is best for the sport, not for his bank account.
    F1 needs to get money from somewhere, but lets just keep it real here. F1 needs its roots and history. There are certain things that is more important to F1 then money and ticket prices. And that is Monaco, Monza, Spa and Canada.
    Why not give tracks a discount for their popularity and then raise the feed for the non popular races. And official F1.com pole could solve that. The track that gets the fewest votes have to pay the most for being on the calender. That way Bahrain and Abu Dhabi would have to spend all their money to pay off Bernie to stay on the calender and we could keep the classic circuits, even if they get in economical trouble.
    First the BBC news, and now this.. What is next?

  43. Bernie owns Paul Ricard what a coincidence, just trying to grab more money for himself

  44. Lucas Alexander Munro - Mr. Veloce of Britalia - Yours With Wings
    28th August 2011, 21:16

    I think if this was going to happen, Bahrain should be get rid of on the calender, Bahrain & Turkey are far less superior in F1 popularity than Belgium & France.

  45. This have to be the dirty things Bernie ever done! Well should he change his mind after today’s race? Why not alternate it with Valencia to replace the European GP.Spain don’t need two GP for any reason.In Spain you will only find Alonso fan (which is not bad) but in Spa you will find only F1 fans (which is what we need)

  46. I understand the financial reasons, and I like Paul Ricard as a circuit, but why not Magny Cours? It is so underrated.

    Spa is well, ii should always be there. The mark of a great driver is being able to win at Spa, it’s one of the big 3 in my book, along with Suzuka and Monte Carlo.

  47. There is only two drivers circuit on the calender Monaco & Spa. Both places you need courage to drive.Will be sad not to see the later everyear.

  48. This is a disaster!!!

    How is Sps in-accessable??? Its central for ALOT of european countries and is a great race to attend!!!!

    Spain doesnt need two races, and is a hell of alot harder to get to than belgium!!!!

    Bernie is just Too two faced, a few weeks ago when asked on live TV what was happening with the television rights he said ‘I see no reason for any change to the status quo’ two weeks later and Sky has half the calender on subscription channels!!!

    Greed will come back and Bite his ass!!!!!

    Went to Spa this weekend (2011) and OK I left straight after the race, (mainly cause I was right at the bottom of the camp site) but I drove straight out and was on the E42 within 20 minutes! Home in 6 hours!!! Getting to Spa was a breeze, straight of the main road on friday night to the camp site!

    Its a great fixture and cant be bumped to every other year!!!
    :(

  49. I have just got back fom SPA- one of the best tracks on the calendar and talking to the local folks there they have no intention of giving up their race or sharing it with the French. Negotiations are ongoing so let us see what happens. Spa was totally packed this year so if they report losses again then half the people at the track over this last weekend must have got in without a ticket by cutting the fence. There were more folks there this year than I have ever seen and I have been at every race there since 2005. So something is not right with the numbers and what is being told.
    I just hope they get it sorted because I will not on principle support a race at a track owned by Mr E.

  50. HounslowBusGarage
    30th August 2011, 12:16

    I remain to be convinced by Paul Ricard – and that’s ignoring the loss of Spa.
    Here’s a pic of Paul Ricard http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=paul+ricard+circuit&hl=en&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=Ek6Jwtmh8pWxuM:&imgrefurl=http://www.gizmag.com/the-worlds-best-sports-car-show/12571/picture/90583/&docid=Du9Y3j6lvWrU_M&w=530&h=592&ei=esFcTsGwJ4nC8QOZn4TUAw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=354&vpy=418&dur=2797&hovh=237&hovw=212&tx=98&ty=115&page=2&tbnh=149&tbnw=133&start=20&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:20&biw=1217&bih=799, it looks like a kiddies fun park without the tricycles.
    There are no facilities, access roads are pretty pathetic (A route five miles south, E route 12 miles north).
    No land for parking and it can’t expand to the right of the pic because it’s hard against the runway of Le Castellet airfield, or to the left because there’s a public road. Even at the far end of the pic, there’a D road within 100 metres. The only development area within possible boundaries is into the scrub/woodland at this end of the pic and the environmentalists are going to fight that.
    Magny Cours might not have much five-star accommodation or restaurants nearby, but it’s ready built, fully developed and waiting . . .

  51. Would it be prudent to mention Bernie is only a figure-head and a non executive employee of CVC, who own the rights to Formula 1. He sold his controlling stake some time ago, but remained as part of the terms of the sale.

    I just came back from Spa, it was packed,so ‘circuit access’ and tickets prices are not the issue.

    The issue is Formula 1 must balance the need to retain historic tracks which are central to its appeal with the need to make money to support the teams in the franchise, and to make money for the owners and its shareholders.

    The reason the ‘crap’ races are not under the spotlight is because the funding comes in regardless of the viewing numbers/ attendance in that country. Spa/ Silverstone/ Monza/ Monaco etc are already given relatively lower fees in order to try and keep the on the calendar because CVC realises the eurpean govt.s will not cover the losses like the Chinese govt do.

    The reason the Spa event is under threat is because it doesn’t have a successful business model:

    Spa francorchamps pay CVC (not Bernie) $25 million per year to host an F1 race.

    100,000 spectators* $150 average entrance price =$15 million tops. When the Shell sponsor money and govt subsidy doesn’t cover the difference, Spa gets dropped. Same as Turkey, the same reason Nurburgring/ Hockenheim alternate every year, the same thing is happening down in Melbourne too.

    Sad, because Spa is one of the best, but this is the reality. Bernie has nothing to do with it. And try actually paying to attend an F1 event, then it will be worth listening to you all moan about expense. When all said and done, CVC is trying to service a valuable product it bought with debt that’s in demand for the benefit of its shareholders, you would do the same in that situation.

    Ow and Maldonado is one lucky man after seeing that qualifying stunt again on tv yesterday, i thought he have had his super licence suspended.

    Rant over

  52. What will the circuit layout actually look like at Paul Ricard? It looks more like a fairly bland test track on Google Maps…

  53. I somehow missed this article when it first appeared, while it would be good to have a French GP back I wouldn’t want it at the expense of only having Spa, one of the best circuits in F1 in my opinion, every other year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.