Circuit de catalunya: F1 Circuit Barcelona the pitlane

Circuit de Catalunya, Photo by Salva Mendez

As predicted for some time the Spanish races at the Valencia street circuit and the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona will almost certainly alternate from next season; this will be similar to the deal between the Nurburgring and Hockenheimring who host the German Grand Prix in alternate years.

 

This deal had been looking increaingly likely over the last year; for a start Mr Ecclestone had made it clear that he wanted to cut the number of races in Europe making two races in Spain look hard to justify: especially as support for F1 in the country  has waned as Spanish hero Fernando Alonso has struggled to challenge for the world championship in recent years with Spanish Grand Prix ticket and European Grand Prix ticket sales both down. Add this to the fact that both the provincial Valencian and Catalan governments, which fund the races, are trying to save money and the deal to alternate was staring everyone in the face and it is only a surprise it took so long to be announced.

 

It seems that in 2012 both races will take place, in 2013 though only one will and as yet which is unclear; though as the deal is going to help struggling Valencia most of all it may be that Barcelona will choose to host the 2013 race.

 

Bernie Ecclestone is yet to sign new contracts but he seems supportive saying:

“It’s simply a way for us to try to help Valencia and if by alternating with Barcelona it helps them it is a good situation.”

As far as we are aware Valencia are yet to pay their 2012 race fees though and the deadline has been set as today the 9th of March. It may be that the Valencian government paying for this year’s race to go ahead depends on negotiations for the future, the race being unpopular with many locals while cuts are made to other government spending; race promoters may want to present this compromise before the governement willl release the race fees.

 

We will of course report more details as we get them, we assume the race will become the Spanish Grand Prix at either venue, whether the European Grand Prix will be relocated is unclear but it seems likely that the title will be sidelined for the time being as it had been a number of times in the past.