Hope for Belgian GP as Greens are hammered in election

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt will today set up a new Belgian government in the wake of national elections yesterday. The election resulted in strong gains for Socialists and Liberals who are members of his coalition but a heavy defeat for the Greens, who had been a part of his six-party government. The election will open the way for a more cohesive government which does not have to pander to minority interests. The Greens were largely responsible for the Belgian law to ban tobacco sponsorship this year which resulted in the cancellation of the Belgian GP. That law may now be overturned which would open the way for a return of the event in 2004, although there is increasing pressure on the races as there appear to be 19 serious candidates for 17 races. Bernie Ecclestone has been suggesting that the calendar could be expanded to cope with the demand (which could rise to 21 candidates in 2005) but the F1 teams are unlikely to agree on any expansion of the World Championship unless Ecclestone agrees to pay them a lot more money. The calendar is pegged to a maximum of 17 events in the Concorde Agreement.

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