The Belgian Grand Prix has agreed a one-year extension to its contract and will remain on the Formula 1 calendar for 2023.
Spa is one of F1’s classic and most popular venues and has hosted 54 grands prix but looked set to controversially drop off the calendar next year.
The number of European races is diminishing to make room for new ones, and in 2023 F1 will welcome the addition of Las Vegas and the returns of Qatar and China – the latter subject to the country’s vaccination programme and enduring COVID-19 isolation rules.
France is not going to be on the 2023 schedule and Belgium was looking unlikely because F1 also wanted to add a race in South Africa.
That has been a goal for F1 for a long time and Stefano Domenicali, F1’s CEO, travelled to Kyalami after June’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix with the hope a deal could be struck for the race to be held in April next year.
But negotiations have dragged on without resolution and Kyalami is not going to join the 2023 calendar and may not materialise for 2024 either.
In its absence, F1 has been able to strike a one-year deal with Spa – ahead of a likely rotation arrangement from 2024 onwards.
“Formula 1 can confirm that the Belgian Grand Prix will be on the 2023 calendar following an agreement to extend our partnership together,” said a statement from F1. “Further details on the 2023 calendar will be announced in due course.”
Spa will get a new date for 2023 because of how F1 initially wanted to rejig its calendar.
One plan was for South Africa to be held in late April and Imola’s round to move to July – but now Imola is likely to go back to the April slot it occupied in 2021 and 2022 with Spa being held in July instead.
F1 could have 24 races next year but if China cannot happen because of the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic, then the calendar will likely be 23 grands prix – which would still represent a record schedule.
Keyword: Belgian GP gets one-year reprieve as 2023 F1 deal agreed