SEPTEMBER 4, 2008
Major changes planned at Spa?
There are rumours in Belgium that the Spa-Francorchamps circuit could be drastically changed before the Belgian GP in 2009. Much work has been done on the circuit in recent years, but it remains the longest on the Formula 1 calendar and this means that it has a number of disadvantages. It is more expensive to run races and offers the spectators less because the cars pass fewer times than on the shorter tracks. There is no lap of honour at Spa because of this.
In addition the circuit passes through land that belongs to two different councils, which means that getting decisions made is a long and complicated process and involves paying taxes to two two different authorities.
It seems that someone has come up with the idea of solving this problem by cutting the circuit in half and putting a piece of track from Pouhon, the double left-hander at the bottom of the long downhill section, up to the chicane. This would mean that classic sections of track at Stavelot and Blanchimont would disappear from F1, although the old circuit would be retained for other races.
It is possible that the plans that have been drawn up are a way to try to convince the local authorities to reduce the taxes being charged, but the threat of losing some of Spa's most spectacular sections is one that should worry any race fan.
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