With Spa Francorchamps looking on the brink of being dropped from the calendar, Sebastian Vettel has made one final plea to Formula 1 to keep the Belgian Grand Prix alive.
So much history and pedigree is associated with the track situated in the Ardennes Forest, and its undulating nature, its impending and fascinating sense of danger, as well as the unpredictable weather have made it a fan favourite for many years.
However, there has been a boom in venues wanting to host an F1 race due to the influx of interest around the world – particularly America – cultivated by the success of the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive.
As a result, some of the most famous circuits, such as Spa, Monaco and Mexico, are all in danger of being eradicated from the sport in favour of newer venues as the pinnacle of motorsport looks to abandon its roots and establish an all-new identity.
But losing Spa, in Vettel’s mind, would be a travesty for the sport.
“Spa is a great circuit, I don’t know any driver who doesn’t like Spa,” said the four-time world champion.
“On the other hand, I know drivers who don’t like the circuit in Russia, not because it’s Russia, but because the tracks are all similar.
“I don’t have a say here, but Spa would have my vote. It would be wrong on so many levels to lose Spa.”
Spa is one of the most difficult challenges a driver can face due to the deceptive proximity of the barriers, the extremely technical corners and the constant changes in elevation.
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen previously defended the Belgian Grand Prix, indicating that there are not many tracks in the world quite like Spa.
“It would be a big shame to lose Spa, it’s my favourite track in the world and also with the recent changes they did to the run-off and stuff,” said the Dutchman.
“Yeah, I think it’s just an amazing track in a Formula 1 car, any car to be honest, with all the high-speed corners and the flow it has in general.
“And yeah, there are so many tracks out there in the world where I think it will be nice to have a Formula 1 race, but somehow just simply not really realistic.”
Spa hosted its first world championship race in the first year of the championship era in 1950, and has been the home of another 54 Belgian Grand Prix since then.