Following earlier news that the Donington track, which was supposed to take over the British Grand Prix in lieu of Silverstone, had to declare bankruptcy comes a reversal of fortune for the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The longtime host of the Belgian Grand Prix looked to be in serious trouble with local authorities when nearby residents got fed up with the noise emanating from the track. Government officials threatened to shut down the circuit if the situation wasn't addressed, but now they appear to be singing a different tune.
According to the latest reports, the regional environment ministry has given Spa an exemption from noise regulations in light of the economic benefits the Belgian Grand Prix brings to the region. There are a few conditions, though. First of all, while they're willing to overlook the noise issue for the F1 race (and possibly a few other events), authorities will crack down at other times, even shutting down the track completely during parts of the summer. Beyond that, they've appointed a third party to monitor the noise levels, warning the track owners that their exemption will be up for review again within two years. So, while race organizers and fans can breathe a sigh of relief, it'll be a short breath, proving once again that racing and bureaucrats don't mix.
[Source: Autocar | Image: Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty]