Fear Not, F1 Fans, Barcelona’s Spanish Grand Prix Has Been Saved—And There’s a New Street Race In Vietnam For 2020
Formula 1’s calendar for next year continues to take shape, as F1 has just confirmed that—against some expectation—the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will be retained on the 2020 schedule.
This news also means that there are likely to be 22 F1 races in total next season, up one from this year’s 21 rounds. The full 2020 F1 calendar is expected to be published in the coming days, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff confirmed recently that F1 teams have agreed to there being 22 rounds. A new street race in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi plus a return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort will be additions, while the retention of Mexico’s race was also confirmed recently. It is anticipated that, from this year’s schedule, the German round at Hockenheim will be dropped.
It had been reckoned that Spain’s round—which takes place near the town of Montmeló around 15 miles from the city of Barcelona—could similarly drop from the schedule, amid financial troubles. Yet funding from local government has secured the 2020 race and an agreement has been signed by F1 with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya thanks to a partnership formed by the Government of Catalonia, the Real Automovil Club de Catalunya (RACC) and the Montmeló Town Council.
F1 boss Chase Carey confirmed also that “in the coming months, we will continue our discussions to see if we can further extend this advantageous relationship [beyond 2020].”
According to data supplied by the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit the event generated 163 million Euros in 2019, while over the past three years a total of 510,556 people attended the event. And Catalonia’s president confirmed that this economic impact was key in striking the renewed deal.
“Throughout the 30 years [that the circuit has hosted the Spanish Grand Prix], we have integrated this event in the industrial policies of the Government,” said the Government of Catalunya’s president Quim Torra, “and the Formula 1 grand prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is an important tool to stimulate the economic activity in the country in terms of tourism, as well as in the automobile and entertainment industry.”
The deal means that the Barcelona circuit will host a F1 grand prix for 30 years uninterrupted, and it continues the Spanish Grand Prix’s long F1 history. The first F1 Spanish Grand Prix was held in 1951 at Barcelona’s Pedralbes street circuit, and while the grand prix has had several different host circuits since, as well as some periods where it has not featured on the calendar at all, F1 has had a Spanish round every year since 1986.
Barcelona has been a regular feature among these, as the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is the third F1 host near or in the city, as in addition to Pedralbes the spectacular Montjuïc street track was also used in the 1960s and ‘70s. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is also a familiar one to F1 fans as it is used for F1’s pre-season testing.
“We are grateful for the excellent relationship with Chase Carey, Formula 1 Chairman and CEO, and we are well aware that our current challenge is to make sure that the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya keeps up this role, both as economic driver and as a link to our sports and industrial tradition,” Torra added.
Images courtesy of Octane Photography