European F1 racing is in danger. France has lost it, and the legendary spa is fighting for a place | Currently

European fans may miss a number of popular races as F1 expands to other destinations. Instead of half, it should be a third of the Grand Prix on the continent.

Formula 1’s expansion into new markets appears to have no end. Three races in the US, a planned return to South Africa and China and growing interest from Asian countries such as Qatar. But if the championship doesn’t want to go to 36 races like NASCAR, it should start clipping the calendar.

Primarily European circuits. The eleventh European Grand Prix of this year (if we count Baku in Europe and Azerbaijan) out of 22 seems too much for representatives of F1 rights holders.

In addition, while the organizers of the new Grand Prix are willing to pay a relatively astronomical registration fee, Europeans are confused at the sight of the economic crisis hitting the “old continent”. So it is not surprising that their position has weakened considerably.

“We have always discussed finding a mix of races where we will have at least a third in Europe, a third in the Far East and the last in the Americas and the Middle East. We want to be balanced,” said Stefano Domenicali, president of Formula One. in public.

The two most populous countries in Europe without F1

The French were the first to know, whose contract F1 management did not renew this week. Although this country now has two drivers in the Grand Prix world (only the British are more, there are also Canadians, Germans and Spaniards), they lost the race.

The French Grand Prix returned to Le Castellet only in 2018 after a ten-year hiatus. In addition, there was no leadership in the previous year due to COVID-19. Perhaps the race has an opportunity in the future, when the possibility of alternating events is considered.

“Our negotiations are very open for a great future,” Domenicali said. “Although it won’t work out next year, there could be some sort of rotation in the future that allows everyone to be part of the calendar.”

But for now, France is following the fate of Germany, another powerhouse in the auto industry. At one time, two races were held there: the German Grand Prix and the European Prix. But the departure of Michael Schumacher and the end of Sebastian Vettel’s successful winning streak led to a significant drop in fans’ interest in the sport. The last time the German Grand Prix was held at Hockenheimring was in 2018.

The current Belgian Grand Prix venue, the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, is facing problems extending its contract. On the 2023 provisional calendar of 24 parts, that race is missing.

It could thus become a “victim” of the planned return to China, which has not been paid since 2020 due to the country’s strict anti-coronavirus measures. After a year’s break, the race should also take place in Qatar.

“Obviously we’re talking about a company where money is very important, but we’ve always said that the traditional races – the races that we know don’t bring money, but do bring tradition – are fully respected,” Domenicali said.

But Liberty Media’s real steps are more toward money. Between the second quarter of 2021 and the same period this year, the company generated an income of $744 million (18.3 billion CZK). Year-on-year comparison, it was $243 million more.

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