Miami race won't replace Azerbaijan insists promoter
Azerbaijan will not be shuffled off the Formula 1 calendar by the arrival of a race in Miami according to the executive director of the Baku City Circuit Arif Rahimov.
With Liberty Media pressing ahead with plans to host a Miami Grand Prix in 2019, there were rumours it would mean dropping Baku – another street circuit – off the calendar to ensure it doesn't go above the current 21 races.
However Rahimov insists Baku's future is safe as both parties have a contract which guarantees their place on the F1 calendar until at least 2020.
"We did not even discuss this [dropping the race] with FOM, it just does not make sense. We have a contract for five years, and we must hold five races starting from 2016," he is quoted as saying by AzerNews.
"If the Miami stage is included in the championship calendar and all other Grands Prix also remain, the number will reach 22 [races].
"I suppose a draft of the 2019 season calendar may be ready this or next month, and the Baku race will be in this calendar."
Rahimov is also keen to see the race continue past 2020, but admitted it would require a better deal from Liberty plus other concessions such as a more preferable date.
"When the race is held in April, it means that we have to start the [preparation] works in winter, when the weather is poor. Often rains and strong winds slow the process. Therefore, we would definitely like to move the race to June.
"We're negotiating on the second part of the contract. We all know we need to improve bits, so we're trying hard to make sure that it's good for us and good for F1," he added, relating to Baku's hosting fee which is amongst the highest on the calendar.
"We will try to get it sorted before the end of June, so I think we'll come to some agreement. Obviously I'm asking for an improvement which is eating into their profits."