The 2022 Formula One Canadian GP will be remembered for a great battle between Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen over the closing laps as the Spaniard almost achieved his first F1 race win. It will also be remembered for the mother of all rows between Toto Wolff and the other team principals over the current car design regulations.
Netflix were apparently present for the team principals meeting, but F1 fans will have to wait until next February to see exactly how Toto Wolff “lost his shit” according to an insider.
However at the same meeting F1’s CEO Stefano Dominicali asked the teams to agree to increase the calendar for 2023 from 24 races. The team’s flatly refused.
Dominicali asserted there would only be the contractual 8 races in Europe next season, so clearly something has to give.
Silverstone, Budapest, Barcelona, Imola, Monza and Zandvoort all have contracts, which leaves 2 more European races to complete the 8.
Given Austria is the home of Red Bull it is highly probable a new contract will be completed for the Red Bull Ring.
So Monaco, Paul Ricard and Spa Francochamps will all be fighting for the last place on the European Calendar.
Murmours from F1 have recently suggested Monaco is close to a deal, though will have to pay substantially more than previously and the principality may also have to restrict the non-F1 advertising around the circuit to Formula One approved partners only.
This means Spa and Paul Ricard are likely to miss out.
Spa has a discounted deal so would need to pay more but politics between the Flemish and French speaking politicians appear to make that a non-starter.
However, the operators of Spa-Francochamps have just completed phase one of the circuits redevelopment spending already over £20m. The circuit layout has been retained but safety has been improved.
Following Antoine Hubert’s fatal crash in 2019, huge earthworks have taken place to allow more run off at the infamous Eau Rouge and Raidillon. A new grandstand has been erected and another is planned for 2023. Significant resurfacing has also been undertaken to improve drainage when the regular Ardenne forrest deluges arrive.
Spa is a favourite with the drivers and fans alike and will be sorely missed from the F1 season.
The French circuit Paul Ricard on the other has never been a fans favourite – the races can be processional as the circuit suites WEC cars better than the current breed of Formula machines.