We have advocated for some time that the current state of play in giving Spain two Grands Prix a year was – on the grounds of practicality and given the current European economic climate – utter nonsense, and now it seems that F1 officialdom has finally come to its senses. This year will be the last where the country hosts two races.
With Spain’s economy on tenterhooks, officials from both host venues – the Circuit de Catalunya and Valencia’s regional council – had already admitted that the current yearly arrangement was proving to be untenable.
For some time, rumours had been kicking around that the two venues would eventually agree to alternatively play host to the Spanish Grand Prix each year, in much the same way that the Nürburgring and Hockenheim do for the German Grand Prix.
There had also been rumours that the immediate future Valencia’s race was under threat, with claims that event organisers had not paid their sanctioning fee to Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM group on-time.
“All is well and everything is paid,” Ecclestone told Radio Valencia-Cadena Ser. “There is no doubt there will be Formula 1 at Valencia on June 24.”
But the F1 mogul did go on to confirm that the Spanish Grand Prix would be staged alternatively at Valencia and Barcelona from 2013 onwards.
“Both Valencia and Barcelona have agreed that it is best to alternate, so now we are trying to choose the dates,” he added.
The deal amounts to a substantial cost saving for both circuits, who will now only have to shell out one sanctioning fee every two years, while Bernie no doubt negotiated an adjustment to their current contracts to ensure that both parties will land up paying more each time around – even if they are only paying every 24 months!
The announcement also gives Ecclestone an easy avenue to slot the inaugural Russian Grand Prix into next year’s calendar, without having to put another venue through the possible pain of losing their own race.
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