The future of Spa

The government of Wallonia, the predominantly French-speaking southern part of Belgium, says that it is willing to talk about a possible sale of the Spa-Francorchamps racing circuit to private investors. The circuit used to be made up of public roads, which were closed for the big races, but in 2006 it became a permanent facility when the Route du Circuit, which snakes through the forests to the east of the track was finally completed and traffic no longer needed to use the circuit itself. The aim of becoming a permanent facility was to enable the circuit operating company to generate more revenues and to reduce the expenditure needed to convert the circuit for each event. The loss of tobacco sponsorship hurt the circuit badly and then demands for new facilities caused additional problems. This led to the race being cancelled in 2006. A new deal was struck with the race getting a new deal from 2007 to 2012 but it is already clear that once that deal comes to an end Belgium needs a rethink about its Grand Prix. There is talk of alternating the event with a French Grand Prix from 2013, which gives the track F1 status at half the cost, but it does not really help to make the circuit sustainable as a business. Paying the fees needed for F1 is simply not workable and so government money is needed. There is the potential to develop the track but the efforts across the hills at the Nurburgring have been rather frightening, with the operating company in deep debt after building its theme park/convention centre and so on. Spa is a little less remote than the Nurburgring but still have little sensible public transportation, although unlike the Ring there is at least the path of the old railway that passes right by the circuit, and used to link Spa to Francorchamps and Stavelot. That was abandoned in 1966 at a time when railways were decidedly un-chic. Putting in a light railway in the hope of boosting tourism might be an option, but there would need to be suitable investment in new attractions to make such an idea viable and no-one seems to have that kind of money.

It is fair to say that whatever happens the local government will end up paying for races and so the thing that they wish to avoid is to have to pay for the running costs of the circuit as well. The important question, however, is not whether someone will buy it, but rather whether a profit can be made from it. Spa is not like a Paul Ricard, where there can be testing all year round. In the winter the areas is covered in snow. There is, of course, potential for museums and driving schools and such things as Spa is a strong brand, but getting people to visit and pay is a different matter.

Jean-Claude Marcourt, Wallonia’s Vice-Minister-President and its minister of Economy says that the government would certainly listen to potential buyers, although he says that at the moment the question is merely hypothetical. The only suggestion thus far is that Gerard Lopez might buy Spa, but as he is still to pay for the Renault F1 team, which he bought 18 months ago, it is rather academic as he is unlikely to have the money.

47 thoughts on “The future of Spa

  1. Why on earth does B.E. insist on destroying the history of F1 in his relentless quest to die the richest man in sports?Surely he could drop his fees for the sake of such a historically important track,not to mention one that normally provides a fascinating and enjoyable race? Somebody in the F1 world needs to stand up to this dictator and explain to him that if he keeps at it,he is going to destroy what he created. Failing that,is it possible could an approach be made to the money men in the Emirates?They seem to be on a drive to invest in all things motorsport related,surely the purchase of a legendary facility would be significantly more financially sensible than developing yet another Tilke-Drome from scratch in the middle of one of their dust bowls?Yes,it’s not exactly in their backyard,but it could be used as a base for cultivating and introducing drivers from their region into the European race series’.Not to mention the amount of goodwill and positive publicity it could generate,something they are seriously in need of right now.

    Just a thought.Your comments Joe?

  2. hope they can sort it out, it’s a wonderful, wonderful circuit – the only one really that still gives me an old-school F1 sense of awe

  3. Damn. Hopefully Red Bull decide they need a second circuit! Who else has the money and the passion to do something like that for the sport?

  4. I think the answer lies in what to do with it during winter, when it’s covered in snow. Being Australian, and having never seen snow, I have no idea what sort of outdoor activities people like to do in snow (except skiing), but surely there is some sort of winter activity that essentially a large section of forest / wilderness could be used for. Maybe the circuit would make an excellent cross country ski course?

    Maybe in summer the answer is to make it easier for would race car drivers to hire cars and test themselves on the circuit or something?

  5. Spa has always been Bernie’s favourite circuit so there is always hope! But when has emotion had anythuing to do with it? The issue is that that maintaining the track to F1 standards will be a big drain on cash along with any interest charges from privatisation. A race day crowd at Spa is in rhe order of 50000 so at an average price of 200 euros a ticket 10m plus a bit from the other days. Out of that F1 has to be paid and the running cost of the event. Spa is a classic that needs to be preserved.

  6. Gerard Lopez mainly invests with other people’s money and this time it could very well be his good friend Flavio Becca supplies the funds.

    Becca is (one of) the investors in the new hotel next to the Spa track and he most certainly has the money.

  7. The circuit always delivers entertaining racing and an F1 race, somehow, just fells right there. My brain automatically turns to generating Spa-saving ideas. First, turn Eau Rouge hill into an indoor ski slope with a mechanised roof for all weather skiing. The track can run through that somehow; people can recall how they ‘took’ Eau Rouge.

    Failing that, get European fans to petition Brussels for Spa funding as part of support for EU heritage sites, I’m sure a fund like that exists. I wouldn’t have a problem if some of my taxes went to that. The circuit could be used to ‘research green fuels’ etc as part of the deal.

    If all else fails, then lets just dig it up and drop it in the Middle east somewhere, call it ‘Spabu Dhabi – the best circuit with improved weather’.

    Seriously though, it would be a pity to lose Spa.

  8. Maybe SPA could become the venue for a permanent European GP. Ecclestones daughter can pay for it!

    It will be a sad day when such an iconic circuit drops off the calendar while venues like Valencia and Bahrain get a jersey. Shame Bernie Shame.

  9. If FOM takes all revenue from on-track sponsorship, how did the end of tobacco sponsorship affect Spa so much?

    Or perhaps you are talking about tobacco sponsorship of non-F1 events?

  10. ‘Why on earth does B.E. insist on destroying the history of F1 in his relentless quest to die the richest man in sports? ‘ – when all the races are outside of Europe that is the end for this 38 year long fan

  11. ” Paying the fees needed for F1 is simply not workable and so government money is needed.”

    And that’s precisely why F1 ends up at the mercy of repressive governments looking for legitimacy in Bahrain, China, etc. Unfortunately, it’s a feature of modern F1, not a bug. It appears that some aspects of F1 are not valued enough by consumers to make it economic without government subsidy.

  12. I visited the Belgium Formula one race at Spa in 1981, and after that, I never missed a Formula one race in Belgium, the ciruit of Zolder included. Very sad when this track will disappaer from the calendre. History is part of Formula one. Look at the grand stands at new tracks, after one or two years they are at least half empty.

  13. It is sad that F1 needs to have it’s policy of increasing fees in the face of decreasing profits for the promoters, simply searching for money wherever it can. It’s unfortunate that humanity itself is largely based on greed and not sustainability.

  14. I love Spa, but one has to wonder if it’s so popular, why are the ticket sales the lowest, or near lowest of any race, and the TV viewing figures are rooted to the foot of the table.

    No one forces people to watch the Hungarian GP more than the Belgian GP, but they do, it’s on average 8 to 10 places higher, which judging by the overwhelming ‘internet’ support for Spa is odd.

    Maybe it’s a case of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’.

  15. No question – if I’d won that €160m lottery prize, I’d have it as my own personal playground. I’d let the F1 boys come and play once a year, of course.

  16. “Paying the fees needed for F1 is simply not workable” Here in lies the the biggest problem with F1 today. This was the reason that the U.S. GP at Indy fell by the wayside, France fell off the map, Belgium, Germany, and Spain are on a serious slide to what appears to be, doom and gloom. Bernie himself has stated that holding a Grand Prix is a loosing proposition for a promoter. The Grand Prix brings prestige and attention to a country which is the philosophy today and why Bernie seeks countries that want to be associated with Grand Prix racing and foot the bill. However, the prestige of the Grand Prix will be seriously diminished with the loss of the aforementioned Grand Prix, only to be replaced with Grand Prix of “Developing nations”… a.k.a. the third world. Having new countries enter F1 is fine, however F1 NEEDS to have it’s base core in order to maintain it’s status. Without these countries, where is the lure for manufacturers to stay in F1? Toyota and Honda have already left the theatre, due to economics. Economics is the root of the problem with the circuits as well, so it all ties in the overall equation. Keep in mind that Toyota is the largest automotive manufacturer in the world, yet they backed out of F1 because they felt it was too expensive. In the challenging economic landscape that we’re faced with today, F1 needs to change with the times, which they are not doing. If the arrogant attitude continues to be the status quo, the future of F1 will be changing in the not too distant future.

  17. Well the solution is very easy. When Belgium will split, Wallonians will be happy to be annexed to France and French don’t look opposed to it (more Europeans means less Arabs afterall).

    Given that France doesn’t have a single decent circuit, they’ll happily call Spa the French GrandPrix and use it as such instead of investing in Paul Ricard. Which means that France will have a better circuit than UK and will reclaim Waterloo (take that rosbifs).

    These predicted events will occur in the next 5 years.

  18. Again it seems that BE is following the money. At some point in time when all the historic F1 tracks are gone, so will the fans be gone. We will be left with somewhat flat, inward turning circuits that resemble video games. We will all say.. I remember F1 when…..

  19. It will be such a shame when Spa finally bites the dust….so that little twit Petra Ecclestone can live in a $150 million house in Beverly Hills.

    There are only, what, about a half-dozen real tracks left besides Spa? Suzuka, Nurburgring, Montreal, Silverstone, Monza, Interlagos. Montreal, Spa, and Nurburgring are clearly teetering, which will soon leave only 4.

    Perhaps Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez will come back online. I attended the 1986 F1 race there (won by Gerhard Berger in a Benetton). It was a worthy venue. No elevation change but a home straight over 2 full km long, and straight as a gunshot. And perhaps there is an outside chance that Austin won’t suck.

    Bernie gave birth to the goose that laid the golden egg, and now he is wringing its neck. Better to have 7 GOOD F1 races per year and leave the Tilkedromes & Sand Republics to GP2 or MotoGP.

  20. Best if bernie bought the place himself or for F1 in general. Probably would not charge himself the fees. Would be good if F1 had a home circuit that it owned, why not the best one of all?

  21. Wouldn’t Spa make a good pay to play track for those training for the other challenge over the border?

  22. The current Bernie fee is about $US20-25,000M so the gate takings are about $US10M short if only 50,000 turn up and pay €200 each. (€1,000,000 = approx $US 1,400,00 as at 18:00 27/07/11) So once again F1 is not financially viable.
    I have no idea what they have at Spa but they need a Silverstone type deal, with guaranteed GPs and a load of on-site profit centres. ie dealer track days, race training, skid pan, public F1 team sponsored events, etc They need to be on all the FIA run, track series, anything that gets the punters in.

  23. I hope a solution is found to keep it on the calender (even if it’s every other year) for a long, long time. I’ve always loved the track more than any other – and really want to visit it one day.

  24. Flavio Becca is also the owner of Team Trek Leopard with the Schleck brothers. Budget of the team is 13 million EUR.

  25. I’m sure someone will say the whole point of Spa is to get wet and dirty! Why can’t we have one race on the calendar, when slumming it gets racegoers an affordable ticket? I know, i know . . . but somehow WRC manages without so much fuss, and how comfy is it to go watch a rally?

    All this of the old circuit, which i never got to see, makes me think the licensing for F1 is deeply broken. I tried out (maybe should have kept at it, but it was not my lack of “leet skillz” that annoyed me) the official F1 game. If there’s a way to simply just go “race” with it, neither me nor a buddy who actually understands gaming, could find out. Those people who model long missed tracks for sims like rfactor are proper troopers. But, how much more would be gained by doing some deal with that lot, how much good will, and consequently money? How about getting the teams to hand over real telemetry (from a while ago) to see if you really could computer race better than Schumi in ’99? I hope this is not thrown away, but heck NASA has enough problems with archive data, and it’s a major issue everywhere. Why do i have to suffer lousy “scenic” camera dollies of a simulated crowd, when i could in theory select “Spa, 99” and have the actual crowd footage?

    (tangential: why would this sell? Any 70’s child has somewhere, i hope, a little reel of Super8. Of zero narrative or cinematographic interest. But are you not gripped by it?)

    I just had a good couple of days in business, but sadly i am still financially not covering rules race distance to even come 24th in F1 money . . else . .* 🙂

    It’s hardly a secret that this current money is going to pay off financial types, not racers. I cannot be alone in dreaming of a fit and trim setup, lean and mean F1, where tracks had a chance to stand on their merit, or sheer audacity and visceral appeal.

    I’ve been asked by customers before, well, shall i say that hospitality goes hand in hand with advertising at a certain level, but i know i’d hate it. Heck, i wrote the clause in our partnership that said, with added blurb, “no-one may meet with any customer, save as directed by counsel for the purposes of concluding a transaction”. And that sucks, there are some fun characters in big companies, but racegoing would then feel like that awkward time when your mum still walks you to school, and you’re all on best behavior 🙂

    I suppose what i really want, is that whilst some people are still alive and carry with them the real history, to get a chance to show how F1 can be done. I think we can assume, and it is thanks to Bernie, people have worked out how to pay the bills. Just the wrong bills. This is not nostalgia for something before my time, it’s preserving the data, so we can derive a new thing. Jumped up sprogs like me (or of similar age or younger i think now) can maybe fill in the digital media blanks.

    Sorry, i am still working out how last Sunday was such a good race, (and it was) but my heart wasn’t in it after the first corners.

    *No, even my evil plans do not come up to scratch. Most dangerous thing, interfering with what or who you love. Would tear me apart, messing with something i am not steeped in.

  26. I’ve read that Monaco doesn’t pay much if any sanctioning fee for its right to host what is usually one of the worst GPs every year. Even people who don’t really follow F1 know Monaco is a joke. Why does Monaco get a free ride whilst we lose the best circuits like Spa? Something to do with the ‘Paddock Club’ and celebrity stuff?

  27. I really wish a new racing series would start up in Europe and compete against F1. Something similar to modern F1 except it’s open to new teams and does not price itself out of Europe.

  28. Losing Spa from the F1 calendar would be a tragedy, akin to F1 cars running silly little 1.6 litre V6 engines with hair-dryers attached. Oh…sorry…

  29. @Jan: Not exactly. 2001 was the first year as a permanent circuit – drove there several times and around 100 laps.

    Of course it’s one of the best tracks in the F1 year but maybe it has lost some of its attraction with the rebuilding of Eau Rouge/Raidillon, Bus Stop chicane and the run off zones – but also with the increase of downforce at the cars which changes some turns to sheer full throttle straights. Nowadays TV pictures don’t really transport the sensation of driving through the formerly very dangerous sections. For the drivers of course it’s different: The track still separates the men from the boys.

  30. @Philip I have to say I’ve noticed that often the wealthier you are the more you get for free. One of life’s little conundrums.

  31. Anyone recall an old story regarding Bernie & Spa in-that he was [perhaps still is] interested in purchasing Spa [naturally, at the lowest price possible]?

    Joe is this still a possibliity or does Bernie have other fish to fry?

  32. Philip,

    Société des Bains de Mer.

    i know there are some stories in that, but i know not enough, yet enough to not want to know more.

    May it suffice that this outfit is also the first to enforce a European trademark in America?

    I mean, that only took 60 years and untold billions, messed with post war treaties and untold stuff, and SbM waltz in . . (thank you SbM, on another account, possibly a reason i scored a deal lately)

    Anything else i might say would upset a nice bloke who just got married.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist, by the way, when i see someone just fighting their own corner. I mean, what right do you or i have to mess about with this? My own confession: every deal i ever did was based on the frailty of wanting to feed my family. You may keep only a few loves, and a handful of principles, in life or preferably forgotten memory. and they whittle down to less fingers than are on your hand.

    I prefer that it’s good fun there. You should have one race for who is broke, and one for who is loaded.

    – j

  33. @Karen:

    Ticket sales: perhaps the poor transportation and, especially, the legendary stories of heavy-handed policing have something to do with it? I’d always intended to make a point of visiting Spa one day, until I read about the various incidents with the local police that seem to happen not just one year, but most years.

    TV viewing figures: Spa usually falls on the August Bank Holiday in the UK, at which time many families are out and about at the seaside or wherever holidaymakers go these days. Don’t know about the rest of the world, mind.

  34. Sigh,

    Has the loss of tobacco had any positive effect on motorsport? All I see is teams in financial trouble and uninspired livery designs.

  35. It’s easy to blame You-Know-Who for everything. Not many like him, neither do I. But he just embodies everything that other F1 people want, albeit unintentionally. Imagine, the teams created a breakaway series, which eventually would effectively kill the sport, but halfway through, a question of revenue arises. Where would they go? Easy question: to track owners. If a track can afford our Big Racing, then we will go, if cannot – sorry. Mr. E. just happens to be a lightning rod, sustaining all displeasure of F1 watching public, but he is not different from the others.

    I suspect that there is no Evil Master and Good Teams. The point is not in Bernie’s greed, but in his unwillingness to explore other methods of raising revenues. Particularly, his axiom that Formula 1 is valuable by itself – all other ills of the sport arise from it. And the teams seem no different, but they have a good excuse – they’re just too busy.

    As Karen noted, if everyone pans Valencia but keep watching it and praises Spa, which stays a lackluster in the box-office and viewing figures, than maybe Belgians don’s need the event after all?

  36. What is the total capacity for Spa?

    Over a race weekend 300,000 people turn up for British Grand Prix and i’m sure most fans would love to go to another race aswell. Spa is not far travel wise, is a historic track known for delivering good races and is usually the first race after the summer break. By all accounts it should be rammed all weekend.

    John (other John)

    Having played that game myself I too wished for more historic features to be included. not too bothered about actual crowd footage but old circuits, cars and drivers rather than just the current grid would be great. Almost a Gran Turismo F1.

    Having played a lot of different driving games maybe thats one of the tricks that Spa is missing.

    I’ve only ever seen Spa in the official F1 games and Race Driver Grid. I know people begged like crazy for the developers to include it in Forza 3 but it didn’t happen.

    The 2 big gaming franchises Forza and Gran Turismo did wonders for the nordschleife introducing it to a new generation and making a visit almost a pilgrimage for anyone with a speed addiction (rather than just those old enough to remember races there). So maybe Spa needs to do more to appeal to the “playstation generation” turning it from a Nostalgic track of the past to a modern day legend.

  37. I’d rather see it in another way: Circuit promoters in Europe who will not pay FOM’s outrageous fees like Spa, Nürburgring, Magny-Cours, Imola and maybe Barcelona and Hockenheim need a new series to fill the void that F1 will leave once Bernie’s circus has moved to the booming countries of Asia. What kind of a racing series is this going to be? Will it be possible to include a US round at Indianapolis and an Australian round?

    No, I’m not phantasizing about a breakaway series but something with different types of cars altogether. Will there be an audience for such a series at the tracks themselves or are spectators in Europe just too spoiled by the quality of the TV coverage that they won’t go out to the tracks anymore? I don’t think it’s the latter because other racing series still draw crowds. The only difference is the ticket price. And that is so high for F1 due to the FOM fee.

  38. The GP in Melbourne is on it’s last legs. A $50 million loss this year. The new govt. did an economic impact study that showed that there was only $35 million of benefits from the GP. Spa on it’s last legs. Bernie’s wallet wins and F1 loses. Oh how I wish that was reversed. When is F1 going to get it’s priorities right. Circuits are the ones that have the highest capitol costs and are the ones that cannot make a profit from holding a race. How much money will make Bernie happy? Aaaarrrrrggghhhh.

  39. Couple of remarks on previous comments from an expat, who’s been living in Belgium and Luxembourg for the last 11 years:
    – there are maybe 7-10 days per annum when the track is covered with snow – these are Ardennes, not the Alps 😉
    – this track is in the middle of nowhere, on a side transit route between relatively small cities in Germany and Belgium/Holland (Tier, Kaiserslautern, Liege, Maastricht), so there’s never much traffic there except for the GP weekend
    – there is an underinvested and second-grade quality spa in Spa, the only interesting thing in the radius of 30km except for the track itself…
    – the only real interest I’ve seen when attending the GP was back in 2009, when MSC was rumoured to be back, and a huge crowd of Germans with dedicated merchandise poured into the event, aided by an establishment of a cheap, 80-euro ticket zone. Maybe it takes a good rumour per year, I don’t know 😉
    – there is already a bunch of track days happening on the circuit, both for cars and motorcycles, but pricing is very steep, and there are new/cheaper alternatives, like the re-worked legendary Mettet circuit near Charleroi, or Zolder. On top, who (especially rich Germans) would go to Spa, when you have the Nordschleife just a bit down the road, for 1/10th of cost to ride on it…
    – Belgium has been running without government for almost a year now. Forget any subsides or anyone seriously having time to figure out what to do with that track
    – Belgium will never split, and I am not sure French are so eager to swallow Wallonia, as majority of minorities from the North Africa and Middle East are Wallonia’s residents, not to mention the unemployed Belgians themselves…
    – time to face the brutal facts: there’s not enough passion and money with 10mln of Belgians to use that circuit for anything else than the GP weekend… Sad but true. Guess the break-even is at the population of 30mln with 0.5% crazy-ass motorsport passion factor.

  40. Like Road America here in the U.S. Spa seems to suffer similar circumstances; a great circuit in the middle of no where with no means of supporting major racing events.

    Your insight in the previous column about F1 being driven by passion, with the core following of passionate fans living in Europe, is exactly why tracks like Spa, Silverstone, The ‘Ring, Monte Carlo, and Monza require reduced fees to Mr. E if the sport is to remain viable.

    As much as I am looking forward to an American GP in Austin, the sport needs to nurture the goose that lays the golden egg; European fans that go to the races and drive up the TV viewership.

  41. Lots of people seem to target Bernie as the single cause for all of this, but bear in mind that he owns a minor percentage and is employed by a venture capitalist group to return a large profit. CVC aren’t interested in a few tens of thousands or even a few million, and so Bernie’s job is to find them their 100s of millions each year.
    I do agree that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the race licensing system.
    Isn’t there any mileage in FOM buying up some of the circuits for their own use, and then leasing them out for other races? Given that Spa-Fr. is one of the most popular amongst fans and teams, isn’t losing Spa-Fr. an incentive perhaps for the teams to step in, buy it between them and use racing on the fans’ favourite circuits as leverage in the concorde agreement?

  42. Phillip
    “Why does Monaco get a free ride whilst we lose the best circuits like Spa? ”
    Because it’s one of the best circuits in the world for excitement atmosphere and peril of very close barriers.
    Once you have been there the night before the race walking round the track, it’s something you will never forget, the atmosphere is absolutely electric and is matched only by: the prices which are stratospheric and on race day the noise, which is reflected off the buildings making it probably the noisiest race of the calendar. Magic, when I went aeons ago, Senna was in the F3 race, there was a Renault5 race and I still remember a lot of incidents from that trip, even through the mega expensive alcoholic haze of the time and my now advanced years.

  43. If I were BE…

    F1 IS as much about venue, classic layouts and history, as it is about new diffusers and German wunderkind. Due to economic realities, F1 must recognize “legacy” venues (as with Monaco). I will not bore with rationale, as I find the arguments self evident.

    Legacy tracks, in no particular order- Monaco, Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Imola, Montreal, Interlagos, Suzuka, and possibly Magny-Cours and Watkins Glen.

    If one postulates a 20 race season, 10 legacy tracks, and 10 Tilke-esque, Bernie extortion money pits, in exotic locales like Russia, Abby Dabby, and N Korea.

    Included the Glen, as with legacy status, upgrades to facilities would be more easily justified and afforded.

    Dreaming? Certainly! But what else is F1 other than a collection of dreams? Maybe I’ll dive into my ‘me as BE’ approach to the ‘formula’ of FormulaOne next.

  44. Philip, i think this comes down to totems. If you are entrusted with an iconic of history, you sure can cut a deal. I always get confused by people picking on Monaco. It’s just one race. Presumably, we could skip it. But there are so many reasons it stays. Monaco is a great haven to do deals in, for one. These arguments happen quite outside of racing interest. Something i do understand, is how to quote deals at rates suitable to the customer. Not every ad deal is the inside front, or outside back. One of the interesting tricks of targeted internet advertising, is they get around the usual discount curve

    Obviously does not work for Spa the same way as Monaco, but i stand by this idea: why not one race for the rich, and one for everyone? That would be Monaco and Spa. I even dare think that the contrast is so important to the calendar, that Monaco ought to lend a hand to Spa. There’s no shame in having a cheaper event. Tracks which were part of my very very early years of making car noises and tryyintg to run about the garden as far as Keke went, if i even saw one, i guess 5 at the time, are not being used to their fullest. Kyalami ought to have a shot, or Zandvoort . There are many others, those just top of head thinking – i mean me and my pal would be there at the drop of a hat. Both looking to my remote eyes rather handy recently. The FIA makes sure of most of it.

    I do not think that it is purely money. I think instead, people think tracks can be milked, long after a honest banker would have been happy to get their money back.

    My apologies to all. I get very emotional about a few things to do with F1, and i know i fail miserably when something is personal and i try to communicate that quickly. . my heats beats faster only for about how i see in a race., I am able to go to a race, or how i recall my earliest experiences, and they get mixed up because there was not only serious track action, but also my earliest memory of existing. But i do not know enough to understand why i get so tipsy like that. I just let it rip. I do the same in business, and sometimes that works, and it did recently, so i am very sorry for spilling emotion about everywhere. I do think it’s better for me to see it from afar. Joe has been the best tutor to me, reminding me all thew time what i care for, aside from family, by allowing me to see behind the curtain, time to time.

    But it is often better to behold beauty at distance. Somehow i shall get my bunch to a race this year. That said, and no doubt about this, who are also looking here are not sure they want the expense to go to a race. I want to take them, but maybe not on my account at current rates. Specifically, i mean of course, i will do this somehow, but the numbers for tickets are so high now, i cannot place friends i even the mereest hing of oblihations to me.

    I must admit that some of who i really want to go to races with, have medical bothers which makes things a bit tricky, assuming i am deemed responsible enough to organize. My pal who i enjoy most watching the races with, used to go to the TTs. But, health aside, the thing is none of us want a plush hotel for the night, we’d be fine in decent tents. But if you spend your money, hundreds of it, just to watch, there’s little sensible money left to look after my friends.

    I don’t know what to say. . My best pal who loves racing, and really talks to me about his thoughts, is 70 now, but no wimp. He earned his pension. We just had a chat how to get to a decent race, but – well maybe we are skinflints – yet still the money down is really too much, because we muist factor in so much else, in case, not even a blow out – i would be in perpetyal purgatpoty if mu oversight resulted in his physical situation being dragged down.. We may do this ( somehow i think will do) for other celebratory reasons, but if whoever is in charge brought prices within sanity, this would be a regular fixture for us.

    I simply do not see how it is smart to devour a man’s wallet, when if he thought it was not silly to waste the money, he’d be talking to every one he knew about how good it is. F1 is missing so much promotion.

    Joe, i shall never have your command of language. But it is a essential thing for me to get a few good pals to a the track, so long overdue, and must be the right crowd.

    Joe, also i realise some so my talk come across a a bit of a pitch. I mean, i am lately a bit chuffed . . Anf also, when i find some insight to advertising, because i pay genuine atention to your writing, so i I think i owe you big time for showing an interesting, and moral, way to do these blog things. I do understand a lot of computing tech. However much i might want to, i genuinely do not understand how blogs or sports ads work. It ishonest of me to say i would love to sell some ads for you. But i might never be able to separate that from the fact you got me thinking and writing (my amateurism) again, for which i am forever indebted.I just know it would not be a good idea for me to mix business with something i admire so much. I am a happier man, to be able to point out your website as in “see, here, this is how it is done”. This is no genuflection, just what i often do. Cynically, i should probably pay you a commission. That wasn’t a throwaway comment. This silly learned an amazing lot.

    If there’s still media students or young authors reading this, i am half way (optimistically) through my life and still learning, I hazard the real thing is knowing what you mean, first.

    . . .

    I owe you a stack, personally, Joe, by leading the way. My work is usually statistical and in that sense rather dull. But i am hiring from mid August. If someone can see clearly the spirit here, this same4 thing which rinsed away the dust and grime of my reading, then i would absolutely appreciate the contact.

    I did not think i would be able to say this, this year. Just to reiterate, i have absolutely no connections with F1 in any way, and wish it to remain so, so i can sit back and really enjoy it.

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