Belgium under the axe again

The uncertain future of the Belgian Grand Prix is one of those reassuring certainties in the ever-changing world of Formula 1. Every year there is doubt that there will be another race at Spa. People speak out in favor of this great race track and say what a shame it would be if the local politicians drove the racing away. The local entrepreneurs say (very loudly) that without the Grand Prix the future of Spa as a racing circuit must be called into question and eventually this gets back to Brussels where the politicians traditionally find some way to back down.

But they do not give up coming up with daft legislation and the latest anti-tobacco rulings, which does not exclude Spa from an advertising ban on tobacco products (despite the fact that all tobacco sponsorship is going to disappear in 2006) seems to suggest that the men in suits in Brussels need to feel that their decision-making is relevant and seem to be happy to accept that this might cost them the Grand Prix. There is no doubt that if the circuit in question was not Spa the race would have disappeared years ago and as Bernie Ecclestone has pointed out this tiresome battle suggests that "they don't want their Grand Prix anymore."

They do - but the politicians now have to figure out a way of backing down without losing face.

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