AUGUST 25, 2011
Drivers back Spa
Formula 1's drivers gave Spa huge support amid suggestions that, in future years, the famous Belgian circuit may only play host to a grand prix every other year, for financial reasons.
The first draft 2012 F1 calendar was without Istanbul Park, a track that has failed to ignite local public interest but which is appreciated as a racing venue. To a man, practically all the current drivers think it would be wrong if there was any dilution of Spa's significance.
"I think it would be a shame, there's a lot of history and F1 has been here for a long time," said world champion Sebastian Vettel. "Spa has made massive safety improvements over the years and it fully deserves to remain on the calendar from a drivers point of view, for longer than any of us are racing."
Belgian Jerome D'Ambrosio added: "It's the best circuit in the world and the only one that really compares is Suzuka. The pleasure you get, especially on a qualifying lap, is huge, and I can't remember races here being boring -- the fight with Mika and Michael at the end of the straight (in 2000), the rain... there's always something special happening!"
A man in reflective mood this weekend is Michael Schumacher, who made his F1 debut in a Jordan at Spa 20 years ago.
"Everybody in the paddock wants to come back here," the seven times champion said. "It has so much tradition and atmosphere but unfortunately it's not up to us to make the decision. If it was, you are always going to have it."