Spa return welcomed, but not 18 races

The return of Spa to the F1 calendar has been officially confirmed following a meeting between Belgian officials and Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone at Hockenheim. The majestic Francorchamps circuit lost its date because of problems over continued tobacco advertising, which have now been resolved

Spa return welcomed, but not 18 races

The return of Belgium, plus the addition of China and Bahrain to the current 16-race calendar, compensated only by the loss of Austria, means that there are now 18 races vying for the maximum 17 dates dictated by the current Concorde Agreement.

"I look forward to Spa but I just hope I'm not looking forward to more than 17 races," McLaren boss Ron Dennis said at Hockenheim. "We are always presented with the calendar as a fait accompli and it's not just myself who doesn't want 18 races. But it's early days and we'll talk it through."

On the subject of 18 races, Frank Williams added: "It does depend on how far apart they are, and what sort of breathing space there is in the summer for the human beings - for that is what they - who have to work on these cars.

"Provided we are adequately compensated for the extra race, and I don't just mean a few free hotel rooms as it costs a fortune to operate these cars, we will talk about it. I think Bernie understands that. And I'd also say that Bernie has been to China to sign a contract. That won't be for the price of a new car - he will have taken a lot of money from them."

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