Spa-Francorchamps - one of the few remaining classic circuits left on the Formula 1 calendar - may have to be shortened for future editions of the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Ardennes track has welcomed F1 on no fewer than 40 occasions since the official inception of the world championship back in 1950, and is a popular venue amongst drivers for its challenging nature.

The original layout, though, used to be some two times the length that it is now, and reports coming out of Belgium suggest the longest circuit on the sport's current schedule - at a fraction over 7km - could be shortened again, with the approval of F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone.

This would be achieved by linking the Pouhon left-hand sweepers with Blanchimont to cut out the high-speed Fagnes chicane and Stavelot, with the existing Pouhon and Blanchimont sections also likely to be modified.

f1-club.be claims the alterations may well take place within the next two years - possibly even in time for the 2009 grand prix - and world championship leader Lewis Hamilton has expressed that the gradual disappearance of many of the sport's more demanding and most-loved 'drivers' tracks' is a shame, even if he acknowledged that he understood why changes need to be made.

"You really feel the history of those places whenever you race there," the McLaren-Mercedes star reasoned. "They have real character.

"Each time they are refurbished they lose a little more of their individuality, but they are made safer, so we can continue to race on them - that's a good compromise."

Such suggestions, however, have been rubbished by circuit spokesman Luc Willems, who told the Dutch language f1today.nl: "Spa has always been unique. Our circuit is as it is, and that is not going to change."

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that the future of the N?rburgring in the top flight is at risk, as rumours intensify that national authority over motor racing in Germany is to change hands.

Currently, the Deutscher Motor Sport Bund (DMSB) - controlled by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) - is the official FIA-sanctioned motor racing authority in the country, but German publication Auto Motor und Sport claims the continuation of this agreement will be a key topic for debate at a forthcoming reunion of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on 7 October.

The magazine reports that rival club Automobil von Deutschland (AvD), promoter of the Hockenheim race and owner of the German Grand Prix moniker, wishes to take over the role - possibly paving the way for the Baden-W?rttemberg circuit to return to the calendar full-time, rather than having to alternate its slot with the N?rburgring.

Earlier this year, the ADAC did not hold back in its condemnation of FIA President Max Mosley in the wake of the News of the World sex scandal, and indeed threatened to boycott the sport's governing body following the 68-year-old's successful vote of confidence motion in Paris in June.

Similarly to be discussed during the WMSC meeting, according to an FIA letter, are both the future of sporting authority in India and proposals for future technical regulations by F1 teams designed to cut costs, improve energy efficiency and create a better spectacle for the fans.

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