France or Belgium could disappear from the 2023 F1 calendar, to make way for other Grands Prix, especially in Asia and America.
Paul Ricard and Spa are thinking of setting up a race every two years, together, to save the skin in the long term.
But what if we had to keep only one circuit for next year? Could it be Paul Ricard or Spa?
Asked about this issue at the Var, Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou showed diplomacy.
“I mean, since we’re in France, maybe I’ll go to the French Grand Prix. It’s not really up to me to decide. I think Formula 1 will decide for itself where to go in the next few years. And it’s also a matter of circuit, of contract. So it’s not really up to me to decide. »
Nicholas Latifi feels his driving pleasure, however, is most keen at Spa.
“Personally, I have a lot of fun driving at Spa, more than here at Paul Ricard, but it’s a personal preference. But as to which one stays on the schedule or if it’s one or both… Again, that’s not for me to decide. »
For Lando Norris, partly for family reasons, the choice is decided much more quickly.
“Oh Spa, easy. I mean, my mum’s from Belgium, so I’m 50% Flemish. In a way, it’s a home race for me like Silverstone. I personally have a lot more connection with it, of course, and I love track and so on, I grew up for many years going to Belgium and spending a lot of time there with my family. Well Belgium for me.”
Francophone Charles Leclerc still prefers Spa for driving reasons… but Paul Ricard for his personal history.
“I don’t know, because of the nature of the track, Spa, also for me. I mean, I prefer Spa as a track. But here I have these connections. I started karting about an hour from here. So yeah, hard to say. »
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel backs up driving praise at Spa… and takes on Paul Ricard in passing.
“Spa, because the circuit is incredible and it would be a shame to lose it. But to be fair, obviously this circuit [le Paul Ricard] It’s not that exciting, I don’t think many drivers are big fans, at least behind the camera. But in France, the people were a pleasant surprise. 2019 has been incredible. The atmosphere you can really feel is there and people are really excited and expecting a great race this year. It would be a shame, but maybe we could move it somewhere else in France? There are exciting tracks. »
The ‘French’ Gasly and Alonso vote for France
At French Pierre Gasly we consider ourselves biased in favor of Paul Ricard… but the AlphaTauri driver would not like to miss Spa either!
“Well, I’m biased. You ask a French driver what he wants between his own Grand Prix or the Belgian Grand Prix. I love France, I want to race in my country in front of my fans and my supporters and I will always support this Grand Prix before any other. I think the saddest thing is that on the other hand Spa is probably my favorite circuit. I grew up watching F1 there almost every year and it’s such a beautiful circuit, it will be a loss , a loss for Formula 1 drivers. France will certainly be my priority, but we will also be sad to lose Spa. »
Fernando Alonso will also stay with Paul Ricard for…contractual reasons?
“I would also say France. I mean, I race for Alpine, a French team and I have…”
“It was so authentic!” Then Pierre Gasly laughs.
And Fernando Alonso to continue: “In any case, I have a very strong bond with France. I won the championship with Renault and, yes, I live in Monaco, so it’s much more convenient to come to Paul Ricard. So yes, France. Both places bring back good memories, even in the WEC. But like I said, you know, for two or three factors, I’d still choose France. »
Lewis Hamilton tries his hand with a cautious response.
“Honestly, I’m not really… I don’t care, to be honest. I’d say Spa has history, probably had the biggest crowds in the past, but they’ve also just made changes here so the race is probably a bit better there. But they are two great circuits and it is also a beautiful region of the world. So I don’t necessarily see a reason to lose one or the other. »
As for Mick Schumacher, take the opportunity to replace his wish, to return Germany to the F1 calendar! Which will undoubtedly happen with the arrival of Porsche and Audi.
“Yes, I think we should include a German Grand Prix. But yes, Spa is much closer to home than the French Grand Prix. Yeah, I’d probably pick Spa, but I’d probably put in a German Grand Prix. Nordschleife, yes. »