Michael Schumacher is undoubtedly the biggest name in Formula One. He has served as one of the biggest selling factors of every Grand Prix. His retirement from racing has greatly reduced the number of spectators and sold-out grandstand seats. For the first time since the golden era of Schumacher, the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix (which will run from August 25 to August 27) will have a sold-out grandstand. This can be attributed to the increasing popularity of 19-year old Belgian-Dutch driver Max Verstappen.

Sold-out grandstand tickets

“It's correct that all the grandstand seats are sold out. Not just for Sunday, but for the entire weekend,” Belgian Grand Prix promoter Andre Maes told Autosport. “This number we have practically already reached, with over 260,000 spectators likely across the three days."

With still a month to go, this figure has already surpassed earlier crowd prediction of 250,000 for the three-day event.

Maes recognized that the participation of Verstappen has helped increase the size of the crowd. Last year, an estimated 25,000 Dutch fans reportedly watched the event to cheer the Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer driver.

It is also believed that the absence of the German Grand Prix this year may have greatly contributed to the increase in sales of the Belgian Grand Prix. In addition, hometown driver Stoffel Vandoorne will race his first Belgian Grand Prix. Maes, however, believes that most of the impact came from Verstappen’s presence.

Schumacher record to stay

With many up-and-coming Formula One drivers, many racing fans believe that Michael Schumacher’s record, particularly with the Belgian GP will stay for a while, and there are a couple of reasons why.

For one, the person closest to Schumacher’s record, Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen, has had issues in his past few races. “Unfortunately it seems to be that unlucky situations keep following us,” said the 2007 world champion.

Just recently, he and fellow Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (who is also said to have a slight chance of matching/surpassing Schumacher’s record) attributed their losses at the British GP to tire issues.

At 37-years of age and a contract expiring by the end of this year, Räikkönen’s window of matching Schumacher’s record is getting slimmer; much less surpassing the latter’s six wins (1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2002).

Räikkönen’s has four Belgian GP wins under his belt (2004, 2005, 2007, and 2009), while the 30-year old German driver has two (2011 and 2013).

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