Monza close to new deal but Spain under threat

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Monza close to new deal but Spain under threat

Formula 1

Monza close to new deal but Spain under threat

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The Italian Grand Prix at Monza is close to being confirmed on the Formula 1 calendar until 2024, but this year’s Spanish Grand Prix could be the last in Barcelona as talks to finalize the 2020 schedule continue.

The Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) – the organizers of the Italian Grand Prix – tweeted on Tuesday that the “ACI and F1 have reached a broad agreement with regard to the economic aspects of the cooperation contract relating to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza for the next five years 2020-2024.”

A further tweet attributed to ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani added that the organization will “continue the negotiation with F1 to arrive, in a short time, to the signing of the contract”.

However the Spanish Grand Prix’s future is less certain. This year’s event in Barcelona the last of the current contract, and a recent reduction in government support, coupled with Fernando Alonso’s absence from F1, could affect interest. At the height of Alonso’s popularity there were two races in Spain, with a European Grand Prix held in Valencia from 2008-2012.

If there is no new agreement reached for the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, that could open up a slot for a grand prix in Zandvoort to join the calendar, with F1 working on capitalizing on the significant interest in Max Verstappen. Large numbers of Verstappen fans travel to the likes of Austria and Spa, and Zandvoort has previously stated it is close to an agreement for the Dutch Grand Prix to return for the first time since 1985.

There is also likely to be movement during the first four flyaway races, with the new race in Vietnam scheduled for an April debut in 2020. In order to accommodate it, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is keen to return to a June date, as confirmed by Baku City Circuit executive director Arif Rahimov last weekend.

“It’s a bit complicated for us, specifically for next year because we’re hosting the three group games and one quarter-final for the European football championship in June,” Rahimov said. “And we want to be in June as well, so we’re trying to figure out if there is a slot where we can fit in. We would want to move back to June. The weather is a bit more predictable, the build-up is easier, you have less winds, less rains. It’s warmer overall. But we’ll see.

“I wasn’t aware that Vietnam would go specifically in April, I was kind of speculating that it would probably go in April but I wasn’t aware if that was confirmed. I didn’t think anything was confirmed at this moment in time. I think we’re aiming towards 22 races next year, with all the rumors floating around.”

Another rumor that surfaced on Tuesday was that the British Grand Prix – another race out of contract after this season, along with Spain, Germany, Italy and Mexico – has agreed a new three-year deal. However, Silverstone then moved to reject such reports, saying talks are ongoing.

“Unfortunately there is unsubstantiated news circulating this morning regarding the agreement of a new deal for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone,” the circuit tweeted. “At this time we can confirm that we have not agreed a contract, however talks are still progressing.”

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