Formula 1: Spa Puts Its Best Foot Forward Amongst the Rumours of Cancellation
When French newspaper L'Equipe announced earlier this month that the Paul Ricard track in France was rumoured to join the calender in an alternating format with Spa, many were disappointed.
The premise that the track in Belgium would only feature once every two years provided a knock to drivers and fans alike. It is one of the best circuits appearing, if not the best.
This week's Grand Prix did not fail to deliver. Even without the usual unpredictable weather there was enough action to fill the race with as much excitement as a trip to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
Witnessing Mark Webber's Red Bull and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari go wheel to wheel into Eau Rouge was simply breathtaking. Both drivers were committed to race into the uphill acceleration zone, leading them to continue their scrap into Les Combes.
In the car, the corner taken at over 180 mph is a test on the body with the incredible G-force. For the drivers it is the ultimate adrenaline rush, and we feel that when witnessing it.
The first corner additionally did not falter in first corner controversy. The inexperienced midfield runner Bruno Senna went too deep and took out a Toro Rosso whilst the two Lotus drivers also found time to come together.
Nico Rosberg's outburst from fifth to lead the race was inspired and sensational, and a feat you would be hard pushed to replicate at alternative tracks such as the Hungaroring.
In essence, the reason why we love the track is so much more than the first few corners. We adore the circuit because it is fast paced, a test of tenacity and risk taking as well as a being a Grand Prix where anything can and will happen.
To see the track lose its position as a regular Grand Prix would be a travesty and yet another decision that Bernie Ecclestone will face further criticism for.
The unfortunate aspect is that judging an Ecclestone decision is like trying to get blood out of a stone—you will get nowhere and only end up more frustrated than when you began.
Funding appears to be the main reason for the rumoured switch from France to Belgium year on year. According to an article by ESPN, the Belgian promoter Etienne Davignon advised that Spa could use its year off to "help raise funding for the Formula 1 race," alluding to possible financial worries.
Whilst this may give the decision a solid foundation, it does not detract from the magical event that could be lost every other year. When other average-at-best tracks like the aforementioned Hungaroring remain, it does make you wonder what the powers that be are thinking.
Sadly, at the end of the day the financial aspects of the sport have the vital influence, an influence which has already seen the end to the promising Turkish Grand Prix this season.
The hope is that the spectacles witnessed this weekend will go some way into claiming a consistent place on the race calender for Spa Francorchamps.
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