Spa Likely to Return in 2004, Says Williams

The Belgian Grand Prix is set to return to the Formula One calendar next year, according to team head Frank Williams.

Spa Likely to Return in 2004, Says Williams

The Belgian Grand Prix is set to return to the Formula One calendar next year, according to team head Frank Williams.

"We suspect Bernie (Ecclestone) has got it on the calendar already," he told reporters at the European Grand Prix today.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) published a list of dates this week for a 17-race 2004 calendar, without listing which countries would fill the slots.

Belgium was dropped from this year's Championship, reduced to 16 races, after teams sponsored by tobacco companies voted not to race at Spa-Francorchamps as a result of local legislation against tobacco advertising.

The FIA and Ecclestone have said they would like to see Belgium back, dependent on the government making the Grand Prix exempt from the tobacco laws.

The race is a favourite for many drivers, including Ferrari's World Champion Michael Schumacher who made his debut at Spa in 1991 and took his first win there in 1992, and is known as one of the most challenging of circuits.

Next season's calendar also has to accommodate new races in China and Bahrain. Austrians have been told that their race will be dropped but the likely return of Spa will threaten other European venues such as Imola.

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