The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will remain on the Formula 1 calendar until 2023 after renewing its hosting deal.
Baku hosted its inaugural grand prix in 2016, and although the challenging street circuit delivered a dull opening offering in terms of F1 track action, the past two editions of the race have been thrillers. At Liberty Media’s request to regulate contract length processes, Azerbaijan triggered a break clause in its original contract in order to renegotiate and have now signed an extension that will see the race run for another five years.
“We are very pleased to have renewed this agreement which will see the Azerbaijan Grand Prix feature on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar for many years to come,” Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey said. “In just a short space of time, this race has become one of the most popular of the season, always producing closely fought and spectacular racing.
“The Republic of Azerbaijan provides a really excellent welcome to everyone in Formula 1 and the beautiful city of Baku is an amazing backdrop for the greatest motor racing show in the world. All fans of our sport should make a note in the diary for the 28th April, the date of the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019.”
The extension comes just a few weeks after some race promoters were critical of Liberty Media’s management of F1, but Azad Rahimov, Minister of Sport and Youth of the Republic of Azerbaijan, says the extension allows better commercial opportunities for the Baku event.
“This is a truly proud day for all of us,” Rahimov said. “The last few years have been a dream come true for the people of Baku as we have seen our race weekend grow from a simple idea into one of the most dramatic and exciting race weekends in F1’s history.
“Already, we have played host to some of the sport’s most iconic moments. Furthermore, every year we have seen more and more fans from all over the world attend the race and have been overwhelmed at how well our event has been embraced by the global Formula 1 community.
“I would also like to extend my special gratitude to Mr. Carey and everyone at Formula 1 for proving themselves to be such great friends to our race. This new agreement will allow our race to maximize its commercial revenues through increased fan-engagement activities and a brand new sponsorship approach to engage our local and regional businesses with Formula 1’s global platform.
“With these exciting opportunities in mind, extending our contract was never in question and we are delighted to stay in this wonderful sport for another five years at least.”