Valencia back in 2014? 2014 return again in doubt (5th Update) UPDATE #5 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has shed little light on the uncertainty surrounding the identity of next year's Spanish grand prix host.
Reportedly, a verbal agreement between the regional presidents should see Valencia and Barcelona annually alternate a single Spanish F1 race from now on.
The port city of Valencia, absent from the 2013 schedule, was set to kick off the arrangement in 2014, but the Circuit de Catalunya has already put tickets on sale for a Spanish grand prix next year.
"If they are doing that," Valencia vice president Jose Ciscar said, "you will have to ask Catalunya as to why."
Asked on Friday at the Nurburgring to clarify the identity of next year's Spanish grand prix host, F1 chief executive Ecclestone answered: "I don't know yet.
"We have to wait," he is quoted by the Spanish sports daily AS.
"We'll see what happens," Ecclestone added.
05/02/13 (GMM) Valencia could still return to the F1 calendar in 2014.
|Valencia is nice, but not the same level as Monaco or Long Beach|
The Spanish port city race's fate has been swinging wildly in recent days and months, but it seems Valencia might appear on next year's schedule after all.
That would be due to a new alternating scheme with Barcelona, until now the permanent host of the annual Spanish grand prix.
"If Valencia can host the grand prix in 2014, there will be the (race) alternation," Catalunya president Artur Mas told Diario Sport newspaper.
"It depends only on them," he added.
"If Valencia is able to have the Spanish grand prix in 2014 then it will, otherwise we will do it, because as of now - unlike two years ago - we have the financial ability to do it every season."04/30/13 Anyone who thinks that Valencia will ever be back on the Formula 1 calendar is an optimist. The race may have drawn some more tourists to the city, but the spending involved was colossal. The race was not supposed to cost the taxpayers anything, but the money that was supposed to come from private developers never appeared and the local government had to chip in $104 million. To that was then added another $319 million in race fees, infrastructure costs and so on.
The Grand Prix was only one of a number of flashy projects which marked the region’s recent history and which have left it with a debt burden of $38 billion. Now, as Spain cuts back on everything and raises taxes, in an effort to get out of the mess created by the regions, there are a string of corruption cases hanging over the local politicians. No-one wants the government to spend money and there was an outcry in January when the regional government stepped in to save the Valencia soccer team, which had failed to repay a $100 million loan. In the circumstances, the idea that the Grand Prix might return, even in a alternation agreement with Barcelona, seems far-fetched. There have also been reports that much of the F1 infrastructure been stripped out by locals, looking to sell everything they can to make ends meet.
Miraculously, the one region which has more debt than Valencia is Catalunya, which boasts a 30 percent bigger population and is more industrialized but it still has a debt of $67 billion. The regional government says it has worked hard to find a way to balance the books and is in the process of agreeing terms with Bernie Ecclestone to run the Spanish GP for next few years. The Catalans, if nothing else, get a bigger crowd than in Valencia.
The Central Bank of Spain says that the country’s debt burden is now at 84 per cent of Spain’s annual gross domestic product with a debt pile of $1.14 trillion. It is expected that the percentage will rise to more than 90 percent this year. Were it not for Fernando Alonso, Spain would be gone from F1. Joe Saward04/30/13 (GMM) Valencia's mooted return to the formula one calendar next year is now under a dark cloud.
We reported earlier this month that the Spanish port city - absent from this year's schedule - could be back in 2014, after its president Alberto Fabra met with Bernie Ecclestone in February.
"The agreement is (now) awaiting the signature of the Catalan president Artur Mas," wrote journalist Pedro Blasco, referring to a deal that would see Valencia annually alternate with Barcelona.
But, whilst not completely ruling out an alternation, Mas said the Circuit de Catalunya is willing to continue to organize the Spanish grand prix each year.
"We are able to fulfill the contract that we signed," he is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
"Since more than a year ago, when I spoke of an alternation, we have worked very hard and we are able to take on the challenge of organizing the race every year."
Mas said the issue is likely to be discussed further next weekend, when Barcelona hosts the 2013 Spanish grand prix.
04/10/13 (GMM) Circuit de Catalunya chief Salvador Servia has played down reports Barcelona could annually alternate the Spanish grand prix with Valencia.
|Salvador Servia, father of IndyCar driver Oriol Servia|
With Valencia missing from the schedule this year for the first time in several years, it emerged recently that a return for the European grand prix venue was unlikely because it appeared city officials had left the street circuit in a state of disrepair.
But the port city's president Alberto Fabra said a month ago that he met with Bernie Ecclestone in London in late February, and agreed a deal to share with Barcelona in the future.
"The agreement is (now) awaiting the signature of the Catalan president Artur Mas," wrote El Mundo journalist Pedro Blasco at the time.
Circuit de Catalunya's Servia, however, played down the story.
"I've read a lot about it," Servia, whose son Oriol Servia is an IndyCar driver, told France's Fan-F1 website.
"But for our part, we have never talked about alternating races between Barcelona and Valencia," he insisted.03/14/13
(GMM) Valencia could be set to return to the formula one calendar.
The European grand prix is missing from the 2013 schedule, and it emerged recently that a return was unlikely because city authorities and race organizers had left the street circuit in a state of disrepair.
However, El Mundo newspaper reports that Valencia president Alberto Fabra met with Bernie Ecclestone in London at the end of February.
The report claims he agreed a deal whereby Valencia will annually alternate the Spanish grand prix with Barcelona.
"The agreement is (now) awaiting the signature of the Catalan president Artur Mas," wrote journalist Pedro Blasco, adding that if the deal is signed, Valencia will host formula one races in even years, beginning in 2014.
Spain's El Confidential newspaper quoted Fabra as saying at a news conference in Madrid that he hoped the deal would be formalized soon.
"We have been working to make this a reality," he added, revealing that he has already been in contact with his Barcelona counterpart Mas.