Barcelona City Council has halved the funding package it delivers to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as host for the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix, putting the beleaguered event’s future in further doubt.

The venue has played host to the Formula 1 World Championship every year since 1991, recently extending its hosting rights contract by a further three years until at least 2019.

It had received government funding to the tune of €4 million a year, but the current council – which was elected after the contract extension was re-signed – has elected to halve that package to €2 million for the 2016 event, according to reports in the El Confidencial and Diario Sport newspapers.

It comes in the wake of comments by newly-elected mayor Ada Colau, who warned: “In the context of what is happening (in Barcelona), Formula 1 is not the priority.”

While its nationwide unemployment rates are at their lowest in four years, Spain’s jobless rate still sits at 21.18% of the population in the third quarter of 2015, according to the latest Trading Economics data. It has the second-highest unemployment rates in Europe, behind recession-hit Greece.

Gerardo Pisarello, first Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, confirmed that further funding cuts are likely in order for circuit officials to develop a “viable plan” for it to source its funding without ongoing government assistance.

The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix takes place on May 15.

Image via Red Bull Racing

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Geoff Burke

Journalist at MotorsportM8
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