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Verstappen says F1 must keep 'iconic' circuits like Spa

22 July 2022 - 14:43 By Reuters
Max Verstappen addresses the press at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet, France, on July 21, 2022.
Max Verstappen addresses the press at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet, France, on July 21, 2022.
Image: ANP via Getty Images

Formula One must retain “iconic” tracks such as Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps even if the trend is towards more lucrative street circuits, according to world champion Max Verstappen.

Spa, and the southern French Le Castellet circuit where Formula One races this weekend, face uncertain futures with new venues such as Miami, Las Vegas, Jeddah and Doha squeezing into a schedule set to expand to 24 races.

There has been talk of races, perhaps even Monaco, alternating to make room.

Red Bull's Verstappen, who is Dutch but was born in Belgium, said rural Spa was his favourite track and had to stay.

“It's just a great track to drive ... I understand that to get there, compared to other tracks, it's probably a little bit more difficult sometimes with the traffic,” said the 24-year-old.

“I don’t want to see myself in 2028 or whatever driving only on street circuits close to the city just for the fan engagement or whatever.

“I understand everyone wants to make money, but there is also a limit to that, because it’s important to keep these really cool circuits on the calendar instead of just driving on street circuits, which I think F1 cars are not designed for anyway.”

The Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet, to the east of Marseille and on a plateau with limited road access, first hosted Formula One in 1971.

“This year is potentially, unfortunately, the last time we [the French] have a grand prix. It might not be on the calendar next year,” said French driver Pierre Gasly. “So it will be important to enjoy every second of it.

“What's sad is that on the other hand, Spa is probably my favourite track on the calendar ... it's such a beautiful track, great place for racing, and I think at the end of the day it will be a loss, a loss for us as Formula One racing drivers.”

Spa, the longest track on the calendar and one of the fastest, has been part of the championship since 1950 though it has been absent in some years.


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