Belgian GP set for sell-out thanks to 'Verstappen effect'

The Belgian Grand Prix is set for its biggest crowd since the Michael Schumacher era, as 'Max Verstappen mania' shows no sign of calming down.

Belgian GP set for sell-out thanks to 'Verstappen effect'
Listen to this article

For the first time since Schumacher's glory years with Ferrari, Spa has sold out all grandstand seats and only has general admittance tickets left for Friday and Saturday.

Belgian GP promoter Andre Maes said that predictions are for a sell-out crowd of more than 250,000 for the weekend, something that has not happened since 2001.

"It's correct that all the grandstand seats are sold out. Not just for Sunday, but for the entire weekend," Maes told Motorsport.com.

"At the request of the authorities, and for security reasons, we are forced to limit the amount of tickets sold. This number we have practically already reached, with over 260,000 spectators likely across the three days."

Belgium's ticket sales have been helped by arrival of Stoffel Vandoorne and the absence of the German GP from the calendar this year, although Maes says the impact of Verstappen is much bigger.

Last year many grandstands turned orange, with an estimated 25,000 Dutch fans flocking to the Belgian Ardennes to cheer on the Red Bull star.

"The Max Verstappen effect continues to be a reality. It's far more important for us than the disappearance of the German Grand Prix," Maes explains.

Schumacher car demo

The 2017 Belgian Grand Prix is the 50th edition held at Spa-Francorchamps, and fans have been promised a bigger show that before.

Part of the new on- and off-track entertainment includes a demo run of the 1992 Benetton B192, which Michael Schumacher drove to his first of a record six wins at the venue.

"Novelties are a fan zone which has two to three times the number of attractions compared to previous years", Maes adds.

Despite the increase in spectators, the grand prix made a 8.62 million Euro loss in 2016 compared to 6.78 million Euro in 2015.

According to Belgian business newspaper L'Echo, the deficit grew because of increased security measures and a contractual hike of the race fee, which grew by four million Euro due to a strengthening dollar.

Since 2007 the difference is paid every year by the regional government of Wallonia. A study by audit firm Deloitte revealed the economic benefits of the race are north of 27 million euro.

Motorsport.com understands the organisers have started early talks with Formula 1 on a new contract as the current deal runs out after the 2018 race, although Maes declines to go into further detail.

Asked about the state of talks, he said: "Our relations with Liberty Media are excellent."

shares
comments
Force India begins Perez contract renewal talks
Previous article

Force India begins Perez contract renewal talks

Next article

Verstappen doesn't take Vettel complaints "seriously" anymore

Verstappen doesn't take Vettel complaints "seriously" anymore
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Prime

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023, which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall Prime

The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall

Looking back to the early races of 2022 and Ferrari’s challenge to Red Bull and Max Verstappen was going better than many expected. But it has lost so much ground a surprise rival can even pip Charles Leclerc to runner-up in the standings if given the chance

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2022
The F1 podium-finisher that gave Jordan stability in a year of chaos Prime

The F1 podium-finisher that gave Jordan stability in a year of chaos

The Hart-powered Jordan 194 gave the team hope that the good times were just around the corner. Its 1994 steed wasn’t the start of a move up F1’s pecking order - even if the car did earn the Silverstone team a first pole position. But, as STUART CODLING explains, it did provide a platform for Jordan to become a manufacturer-supported squad.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2022