The Spanish Grand Prix will remain on the Formula 1 calendar in 2020 following the signing of a new contract that looks set to expand the schedule to 22 races.
This year’s edition of the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was the last of the current deal, and it was not expected to feature next season following confirmation of the additions in Vietnam and the Netherlands. However, a one-year contract has now been signed to keep the race in Barcelona, and F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey said that the door is open for a further extension beyond that.
“We are pleased to confirm that the Spanish Grand Prix will be on the calendar of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship,” Carey said. “The decision to continue to stage a round of the pinnacle of motor sport in Spain, a country with a great motor racing tradition, dating back to the start of the last century, is part of our strategy of maintaining Formula 1’s European roots, while also currently expanding the championship into new territories.
“The promoter’s willingness to be part of Formula 1 going into 2020 is proof of the sport’s ability to act as a catalyst for regions to hold world class events and also to have a positive impact on the area’s economy.
“In the coming months, we will continue our discussions to see if we can further extend this advantageous relationship. In the meantime, I would like to thank Quim Torra, the Catalan President for his vital support in these negotiations, in the hope of celebrating a fantastic fiftieth Spanish Grand Prix in 2020, the thirtieth to be held at one of the most technically demanding circuits on the World Championship calendar.”
F1 has been discussing ways of fitting the extra race into the calendar with the teams, with the most likely option involving a reduction in pre-season testing – ironically also held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – in order to prevent the need to rotate staff.
The final 2020 calendar has yet to be released, with F1 working to avoid a triple header like that seen with races in France, Austria and Great Britain last year.