Following the official shortest race in Formula One history held at the historic Spa Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes forrest, the Belgium Grand Prix came under fire from F1 bosses. While the rain which saw the 2021 race cover just 1 lap is beyond the promoter’s control, a number of other circuit related issues were brought into focus.
Having secured 80 million euros from the Belgian government, the circuit has been improved year on year since then.
Much of the world was focused on the Eau Rouge/Raidillon section which the FIA believed had become a significant danger to th new breed of Formula One cars.
Following the fatal accident of Anthoine Hubert in the 2019 Formula 2 feature race, there were calls from the drivers to improve the safety around this section of the track.
If cars crashed at the top of Eau Rouge the barriers either side of the circuit were close to the edge of the asphalt risking spitting the car back onto the circuit into the oncoming path of drivers approaching the blind crest.
So the run off area was widened as huge excavations took place into the side of the mountain. On top was placed an impressive new grandstand giving views of the cars from turn 1 all the way up the Kemmel straight.
The for 2022 the off track entertainment around the Grand Prix was improved and as hopes of a 2023 South African GP faded, Spa was given another year’s reprieve.
This year an additional 10,000 tickets each day will be available and bar a few high end priced tickets the race is already sold out.
“We have raised our capacity from 100,000 to 110,000 spectators per day, with an extra 10,000 grandstand tickets compared to last year,” the event’s commercial director Stijn de Boever told Motorsport.com.
“We have two new grandstands opposite the endurance pits, one uncovered stand with 3,000 seats and a covered grandstand with 4,000 seats.
The race held annually in the Ardennes mountains never had the best reputation for logistical organisation and traffic chaos often ensued around the circuit.
Even inside the track facilities were basic often with long queues for toilets and to buy refreshments.
“As requested, we have improved security and facilities to accommodate these extra 10,000 fans, with larger fan zones and more comfort.
“We’re going in the same direction with more entertainment options off the track, with new artists which will be announced over the coming weeks.”
“There will also be new car parks and new zones to make coming to Spa a smoother experience. Cars without parking stickers won’t be allowed in the immediate vicinity of the circuit, so fans lose less time.”
The Belgium organisers are currently discussing a longer term contract rather than the year on year extensions they’ve been granted for two seasons.
With the death knell being sounded over the South African GP, it could see one of F1’s most historic circuits secure itself a place on the calendar behind 2026 when the new engine Formula arrives.