Formula One: Norris, Horner concerned about Belgian Grand Prix's future

McLaren driver Lando Norris hopes certain tracks will "always be on" for as long as Formula One is around. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Some of Formula One's biggest names are concerned that the highly popular Belgian Grand Prix could be dropped from the schedule as early as next year.

F1 returns from its summer break at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, but the track's contract is up and a new deal has yet to be reached.

"I'll be sad," McLaren driver Lando Norris told reporters on Monday (Aug 22).

"I guess a lot of things are just about money nowadays, which is the issue. It's a business. It's a historic race for Formula One.

"It's the same as Monaco, from what I know, they don't even pay and it's on the calendar. Same with like Monza and stuff. I feel it should always be on for as long as Formula One is around."

Several of F1's most popular tracks are rumoured to be in danger of losing their annual races with the sport expanding rapidly across the globe. The United States is adding a race in Las Vegas next year, South Africa is hoping to return to the schedule and F1 could return to China if Covid-19 restrictions in the country allow.

While the sport continues to grow, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner called on the FIA to protect F1's historic races. Along with the Belgian Grand Prix, Monaco also does not have a deal in place for next year.

"There should be a few races - Monaco, Silverstone, Spa, Monza - they're the big ones, the historic ones, and I think we should ring-fence and really protect those," Horner said, per the Express.

"It's great that these new venues are coming in and that there is interest but you've got to have that history.

"It would be like having the ATP Tour without Wimbledon. I think they're part of our history, they're part of our DNA. We'll definitely make our opinion known, but you've got to trust the people that are running the business at the end of the day."

On his own future, Horner said he remains committed to Red Bull for the foreseeable future.

Horner, 48, has led the team since it entered F1 in 2005. Red Bull have won four Constructors' Championships during that time and Max Verstappen has an excellent chance to win consecutive driver's championships - which would give the team six during Horner's tenure.

"This is my 18th season in charge of the team and I'm just as motivated today as I was on the first day that I attended the first race back in 2005," he told GPFans.

"I think that if you're a competitive person, you have that fire that burns within you and mine's still burning pretty bright. When you lose that, then that's the time to obviously go and do something else...

"I've made a long-term commitment to the team," he added.

"I feel very much attached to this team and responsible for it."

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