Hidden by the conflicting views surrounding the future of the Singapore Grand Prix was news that the annual trip to Spa-Francorchamps appears to have been secured for a further three seasons, and without the need to share a spot on the calendar.
The Belgian Grand Prix is a favourite stop-off for the F1 fraternity, and the drivers especially, but mounting financial concerns appeared to have put the event in jeopardy, with suggestions that it was looking for a way to remain a part of the sport, even if that meant not appearing on the schedule every year. With France attempting to resurrect its grand prix, there was talk of a marriage of convenience between the two neighbours, and the proposed alternation seemed to be in place as long ago as April [see story here
], but Belgium now appears prepared to go it alone after finding a solution to its concerns.
With the change in president in France casting doubt over the viability of a French Grand Prix in the foreseeable future [see story here
], plans to alternate with Belgium were already on shaky ground, but a new proposal put to Bernie Ecclestone appears to have been accepted in Spa's favour.
"What I wanted to do was reduce the size of the expenditure in the budget of the Walloon region and, when comparing what was taken in the previous contract and the new, I would say it is mission accomplished," Jean-Claude Marcout, minister of economy for Wallonia, was quoted by SportsPro
Singapore, meanwhile, remains at a crossroads, with Ecclestone's claims that a new deal had been struck with the organisers being refuted by those behind the race.
“What is presently on offer from Formula One Administration is insufficient for us to commit to a full five-year extension,” the organisers, who have a two-year extension option on the current deal, insisted, “We remain hopeful at reaching an outcome that is mutually beneficial to all parties.”