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.

View the 2012 F1 calendar.

2012 F1 calendar

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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

  1. Nathan89 (@nathan89) said on 28th August 2011, 11:15

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

  2. Sandlefish (@sandlefish) said on 28th August 2011, 11:15

    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.

  3. JustAnF1Fanatic (@justanf1fanatic) said on 28th August 2011, 11:17

    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

  4. Paul Buchanan said on 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.

  5. bernie just made a couple of millions!!

  6. Pedro Andrade (@pedro-andrade) said on 28th August 2011, 11:20

    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…

    • batador said on 28th August 2011, 11:55

      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

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 11:23

    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.

    • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 28th August 2011, 11:31

      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).

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 28th August 2011, 11:38

      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?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 11:50

        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.

        • Jarred Walmsley said on 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.

    • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 28th August 2011, 11:45

      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.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th August 2011, 19:26

        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.

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 28th August 2011, 19:38

          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.

    • f1alex said on 28th August 2011, 12:03

      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.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 12:17

        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.

  8. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 28th August 2011, 11:41

    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.

    • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 28th August 2011, 11:56

      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.

    • Ilanin said on 28th August 2011, 12:00

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

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 12:19

        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.

  9. hartry said on 28th August 2011, 11:42

    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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 11:52

      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.

      • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 28th August 2011, 11:57

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

      • batador said on 28th August 2011, 11:58

        FOM or Bernie…not big difference

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 12:00

          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.

          • hartry said on 28th August 2011, 12:24

            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.

  10. Smitster said on 28th August 2011, 11:44

    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.

  11. Webber fan said on 28th August 2011, 11:48

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

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th August 2011, 11:54

      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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th August 2011, 11:58

      How do you know Bernie is to blame?

    • f1alex said on 28th August 2011, 12:05

      Stupidest comment of the day.

      • Hammer Time said on 30th August 2011, 18:34

        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

  12. maxthecat said on 28th August 2011, 11:51

    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.

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th August 2011, 11:52

    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.

  14. jonnyw360f1 (@jonnyw360f1) said on 28th August 2011, 11:55

    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!

  15. gwenouille (@gwenouille) said on 28th August 2011, 11:55

    You are welcom Keith !

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

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