Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has stressed the importance of safeguarding classic races in Formula 1 ahead of next weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is among the most iconic tracks on the calendar, but is one of many that has come under threat in recent years due to the increasingly global approach that the sport has taken to its calendar.
New events in Singapore, Russia, Abu Dhabi and, as of 2016, Azerbaijan have helped to take F1 to new markets. However, their additions have often come at the cost of more traditional races in nations such as France and Germany.
Speaking ahead of the race in Belgium, Gastaldi said how classic circuits such as Spa remain integral to F1’s image and are relevant even in the more global era of the sport.
“In my opinion it is vital,” Gastaldi said when asked how important races such as the Belgian Grand Prix are.
“These tracks are the lifeblood of F1. There wouldn’t be a tennis season without Wimbledon or a golf season without the Masters at Augusta.
“These circuits need to be maintained in F1 because the fans identify with them so much and they nearly always create excitement.
“I think we have a good balance of tracks in F1. Some traditional like Spa, Silverstone and Monza, some great street circuits like Monaco and Singapore and then newer F1 markets like Russia, the Middle East and the US.
“F1 should be about variety in every context while at the same time being relevant to partners, fans and teams alike.”
Gastaldi also reacted to speculation about a possible sale of Lotus to Renault ahead of the 2016 season, remaining coy and saying that there was nothing to say on the matter.
“This is always part of F1, the rumour, intrigue and speculation,” Gastaldi said.
“We can expect all kinds of waffle in the Spa paddock but there’s nothing to report from the team. We’re focusing on our racing and we’re hopeful of a strong result in Spa.”