F1 »

Spa-Francorchamps sees licence suspended until 2026

The legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit – traditional home to the Belgian Grand Prix – may be set to slip off the Formula 1 calendar again after it emerged that the Ardennes track has had its licence suspended by the local Council of State...until 2026.

The bombshell was dropped upon circuit director Pierre-Alain Thibaut following an investigation into noise levels in the wake of a renewed permit issued back in April, 2007. One of the conditions of the new licence was that an environmental impact study must be carried out following on from complaints made by local residents, but according to Pitpass the Council of State has adjudged the work conducted by Spa organisers to be 'seriously inadequate and incomplete' – leading to the draconian decision that has been subsequently taken.

“Since the filing of the complaint, the situation has changed,” Thibaut told Belgian news agency Lesoir. “The circuit has worked hard to reduce noise, and relations with local residents have improved.

“It is a difficult situation, but we've made commitments vis-à-vis a range of people, and we must comply on pain of having to pay damages. We will challenge the government, and organise a dialogue with the board of residents.”

Should the Belgian Grand Prix disappear from the F1 schedule in 2010, it would be to the dismay of drivers, teams and fans alike, the majority of whom hold it to be one of – if not the – best circuits in the world, one of the few remaining real tests of competitors' skill in an era dominated by anodyne Tilke-dromes.

The race was not held in 2003 or 2006 due to issues regarding respectively tobacco advertising laws and major repair work, but Spa has in total staged Belgium's round on the annual world championship calendar on 42 occasions since the first official season all the way back in 1950. The event has also taken place at Zolder (ten times) and Nivelles (twice).

There has been talk of a race-share deal between Spa and the Nürburgring in the future [see separate story – click here], with the two venues appearing on the calendar in alternate years off the back of reputed £3 million losses for the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix alone. The 2010 Belgian Grand Prix has a provisional date of 29 August.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007, Belgian F1, Spa, 14-16th, September 2007
07.09.2014 - Alain Prost (FRA)
06.09.2014 - Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9 and Alain Prost (FRA)
06.09.2014 - Alain Prost (FRA) and Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes
06.09.2014 - Alain Prost (FRA)
06.09.2014 - Alain Prost (FRA) Former F1 driver
Italian Grand Prix Infographic [credit: Crash.net]
Rene Dreyfus and Tazio Nuvolari at the 1935 Grand Prix de Pau
Pic credit: Agence de presse Meurisse‏ [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Peter Gethin sat in his BRM at the 1972 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch
Sebastian Vettel drives the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi - Pic credit: Infiniti
Sebatian Vettel and David Coulthard at the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi - Pic credit: Infiniti
Sebastian Vettel drives the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi for the first time - Pic credit: Infiniti
24.08.2014- Race, Start of the race
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
24.08.2014- Race, Andre Lotterer (GER), Caterham F1 Team
24.08.2014- Race, Peter Sauber (SUI), Sauber F1 Team motorhome
24.08.2014- Race, Press conference, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10
24.08.2014- Race, Celebration, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10 race winner

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.