Barcelona 'gets funding boost for 2020 F1 hopes'
The prospects of the Spanish Grand Prix remaining on the Formula 1 calendar have been boosted in the wake of the regional government providing funding, according to local media..
Formula 1 has visited the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 1991 but its existing contract expired at the conclusion of the 2019 event.
With Vietnam and the Netherlands joining the 2020 roster, and Formula 1 owners Liberty Media keen to retain a 21-event calendar, Spain was expected to be one grand prix to drop from the schedule.
Spanish Grand Prix organisers, the RACC, issued a statement at the end of May urging the local government to intervene.
It cited the economic boost the event brought to the local region and described the Spanish Grand Prix as crucial for the venue.
On Friday Catalan economics publication Ara claimed that an agreement has been reached between the Catalan government and Liberty Media over funding for a potential 2020 grand prix, with the figure estimated to be around 21 Million Euros.
Motorsport Week contacted the relevant parties for further information and received the following statement from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya management: "No agreement has been reached yet with Formula 1 in order to renew the agreement for the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya," the statement read.
"The negotiations for the renewal of the agreement with Formula 1 continue, and are still open. As soon as an agreement has been reached, whether for the renewal or the non-renewal, it will be made known officially through the usual channels used by Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya."
With reference to the statement wording "whether for the renewal or the non-renewal" would at least seem to confirm that negotiations with Liberty are indeed ongoing, for now...
With the Netherlands expected to take Spain’s date on the calendar it remains to be seen where a Barcelona event would be slotted into the schedule, should a 2020 deal be reached.
One solution is to run Zandvoort and Barcelona back-to-back across the opening two weekends in May; officials in the Netherlands have already been given provisional dates that will see their event take place early in May, either on the 3rd or 10th, at the start of the European season.
However, Liberty Media is understood to have already told Formula 1 teams that the calendar will not expand beyond its current 21-event schedule.
Mexico, Italy and Germany are the other current events without a confirmed 2020 deal, but Mexico is expected to stay, while an agreement in principle has already been reached with Italy.
Australia, on 15 March, is the only 2020 race with a confirmed date.
Bahrain is expected to take place two weeks later, with China and Vietnam running back-to-back in April; it remains possible that Vietnam could be a standalone event due to concerns over the logistics of getting freight into and out of the country for its first event.
Azerbaijan, which has run in April for the last two years, is set to move to a June date at the behest of race organisers.