Formula 1

Spa CEO found dead after suspected murder

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Nathalie Maillet, CEO of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit that will host Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix later this month, has been found dead after what is suspected to be a murder.

Maillet was found dead in her home in the town of Gouvy on the Belgium/Luxembourg border in the early hours of Sunday morning. She was one of three bodies found with gunshot wounds, along with that of another woman and a man.

“According to the first information received, the male individual used his weapon on the two women, who included his wife, causing their deaths before taking his own life,” said a statement from the Luxembourg public prosecutor.

An investigation is ongoing into the suspected murder/suicide.

“My thoughts are with Nathalie’s family, her parents, her loved ones and her teams,” said Melchior Wathelet, chairman of the board of directors of the Circuit de Spa Francorchamps.

“I know how much this news will upset our teams and I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the entire circuit team on behalf of the entire board.

“Today, we are losing a highly respected lady, a true leader who will be greatly missed.

“Nathalie had become the face of the circuit, she embodied the passion for racing that we all share.”

Maillet came from a motorsport family and, after studying to become an architect, took up racing in her 30s. As well as competing as a driver, she became involved on the organisational side of racing.

She became CEO of the Spa circuit in June 2016 and was held in high regard for her leadership and innovation.

Her death occurred on the evening before Spa hosted the World Rally Championship for the first time, with stages at the circuit being used for the final day of the Ypres Rally’s first event as part of the WRC.

Formula 1 issued a statement saying “We are deeply by the awful news that our friend Nathalie Maillet has died.

“The whole of Formula 1 sends its deepest condolences to her family and friends. The motorsport community has lost an incredible person and we will all miss her greatly.”

Pierre Fillon, president of World Endurance Championship organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, also paid tribute to Maillet.

““We are particularly shocked and upset by this news. We were in regular contact over the past few years, in particular in relation to the FIA World Endurance Championship,” said Fillon.

“Nathalie was passionate about motorsport and spared no effort in defending our causes.

“On behalf of the ACO, I extend our heartfelt condolences to her friends and family and to the staff of Spa-Francorchamps. They can count on our support in this difficult time.”

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