As Belgium has not yet extended for next year, will Sunday’s Grand Prix be the last, at least for several years?
Stefano Domenicali: « You will never see a comment from me saying that this is the last year for Belgium. I will be careful about that, very careful. It is true that we are working with other promoters to see if they are ready to commit. We want to find the right balance, at least one third in Europe, one third in the Far East, and the other in America/Middle East. Of course, we are talking about a sector where the investments and the financial contribution are very important, but we have always said that the traditional races, which we know cannot bring the money that others bring, have our full respect. They will be respected in the future Discussions with Belgium are still ongoing, as with France or Monaco (not yet confirmed for 2023, editor’s note) ».
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How does a race on a circuit as historic as Spa find itself threatened? Monza, which will host the Italian GP on September 11, is it also in the sights?
SD: « If you remember, there were periods when Belgium was not on the calendar. It came back. We sometimes have a short memory (Belgium organized 66 editions in 73 F1 seasons, its last absence going back to 2006, editor’s note). It’s a great place, no doubt, and that’s why we are discussing. In Monza this year there will be the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Italian GP. But as a Italian, I always tell them: you have to realize that history is not enough. Monza has to do its part, they have to renovate the structure, update a place that is emblematic. These places will always be part of the discussions but, for their part, their presence cannot be taken for granted ».
What about the option of a rotation?
SD: « Indeed, one possibility, not next year, but in the future, could be to find this kind of rotation that would allow everyone to be part of the calendar. It was a request from some local promoters. There are sites that are discussing among themselves to submit a proposal to us in the next few months. It will not be part of the 2023 calendar. We are talking about 2024 or 2025 maximum to start with this approach.
How many races will there be on the 2023 calendar and what is the limit not to cross?
SD: « Next year hopefully around 24; 23 or 24 races. I think now the market is asking for that. In the past we had 15, 17 races, we had different situations. Today « That number is the right balance, given the fact that there is a lot of interest in F1. If I felt that in terms of value that number was getting too high, I would be the first to reduce it. »
Where does Sebastian Vettel rank in the history of Formula 1?
23 or 24 races, does that depend on the presence of China next year? Can the links between China and Russia come into consideration?
SD: « The political line of sport is always very fragile, we always have to be careful. We want to put forward positive values. At the moment, I think the situation in China must be followed for many reasons, we have the Covid situation which is unclear All major sports leagues are waiting to understand what is happening We are talking with all major sports to understand We believe we have a clearer direction on the future scenario for China from here the end of this year ».
Can South Africa hope to return in 2023?
SD: « We want to have a race in Africa. Today the most likely place for that is South Africa. What we are looking for is a very strong, clear and long-term commitment term. It takes time. We will clarify this situation in the next few days. We want to make the commitment to be in Africa, but we want to take it correctly ».
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