Deal reached securing Francorchamps Grand Prix
9 February 2006, BRUSSELS — Despite its failure to stage the race this year, the Wallonian government has reached a deal with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone securing the Belgian Grand Prix's future for the next five years.
9 February 2006
BRUSSELS — Despite its failure to stage the race this year, the Wallonian government has reached a deal with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone securing the Belgian Grand Prix's future for the next five years.
Wallonian Economy Minister Jean-Claude Marcourt said the regional government will pay EUR 6 million on an annual basis to stage the Spa-Francorchamps Grand Prix for the next five years.
Of this money, the Wallonian government hopes to raise EUR 2 million through sponsoring, Francophone public broadcaster RTBF reported on Thursday.
The deal reached with Ecclestone is an 'in principle' accord and still needs to be formally agreed to by the Wallonian Parliament. The contract can, however, be revised after three years.
Half of the money to be invested by the Wallonian government will be allocated to renovation works on the track circuit and facilities. The other half will be used to terminate the old contract with Ecclestone.
The agreement also states that the Wallonian government will not need to pay any compensation for its failure to stage the race this year. The former contract had stated that the Francophone region's government would have to pay EUR 14 million if the race did not proceed.
The new contract is thus good news for Wallonia because it was confirmed on Wednesday that the Grand Prix will not be staged this year because the necessary track renovation works could not be completed in time.
The agreement with Ecclestone will soon be debated in the Wallonian Parliament and it is expected that the contract will be officially signed next week.
This will end a period of uncertainty around the Grand Prix amid controversy over the Wallonian government's financial backing of the race at a time when the region's economy is stagnating.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news