The Belgian Grand Prix will continue until the end of 2015, after a new deal was signed by the Wallonia provincial government and the Formula One group. Although financial details are never announced in these matters, the Wallonian minister of finance, Jean-Claude Marcourt, said that the cost of the contract had reduced. The Formula One group has to ensure a certain number of historic races are included on the F1 calendar and Spa is apparently deemed to be one of them. Germany, which also has a cut-price deal, is another. It is not clear how France was allowed to drop out of F1 a few years ago, but it seems that the contract between the FIA and Formula One may specify that there must be a certain number of protected events from a list. The current deal ends after the race next week. There were plans before the French elections to alternate the Belgium race with France, but these seem to have broken down even before the French project foundered when the Republican government fell. The Socialists who are now in office have talked of reviving the French Grand Prix but there has yet to be any concrete sign that they are actually going to do something. The Belgian GP has suffered from seriously small crowds in recent years but its value to the region is such that it is maintained. The race used to attract large numbers of German fans, as the circuit is located just 10 miles from the German border, with relatively easy access from north and south.
Spa has been the home of the Belgian Grand Prix since 1925, when Antonio Ascari won the first event for Alfa Romeo. It became firmly established on the Grand Prix calendar in 1933 and Spa remained a key element of the F1 World Championship until 1970 when poor safety on the old circuit led to the race switching to Nivelles and Zolder. Spa was substantially rebuilt and the event returned in 1983.The events in 2003 and 2006 were cancelled because of disputes over tobacco and problems of finance.