Work started on upgrading the Spa-Francorchamps circuit this week. The popular Belgian venue was removed from the 2006 calendar after the track refused to commit to previously agreed track improvements. However, after an agreement to improve the pit and paddock areas, the circuit has been reinstated for a race in September 2007.
The renovations are said to be costing in the region of US$80 million. The upgrades will also include a revised Bus Stop chicane and revamped grandstands.
Meanwhile, Imola has set it’s eyes on a similiar return after being left off next years calender. Discussions are progressing to decide whether to demolish and rebuild the historic pit lane facilities at the San Marino track. However, even with the modifications, there is little hope of a return to Formula 1 racing, such is the demand for the sport in other countries and the strong position of the primary Italian circuit in Monza.
In other circuit news, the Formula 1 drivers’ union is to inspect safety improvements at Jerez before any testing can take place. Jerez is due to hold a testing session in December. A similiar situation occured prior to the Italian GP last season at Monza, where the Drivers Union voiced their concern over the insufficient run-off area at the second ‘Curva Di Lesmo’.
Pictures of the circuit renovation can be found here: http://www.spa-francorchamps.be/gfx/travaux2006-2007/