Barcelona, Valencia to share single Spain GP?

UPDATE #5 (GMM) European grand prix promoter Jorge Martinez Aspar has denied reports Valencia is open to alternating its F1 race with Barcelona.

The port city's sport minister said last week that the Valencia government would honor its existing contract to 2014 and then extend the deal "in the best conditions".

It has been suggested for some time that, amid the ever-expanding F1 calendar, Spain will have to follow Germany in annually alternating a single race date between its two existing venues.

But Valencia race promoter Aspar, of Valmor Sports, told Onda Cero radio: "We are not developing the alternating with Barcelona.

"If they (Barcelona) are there, wonderful, but we want to have this grand prix. The sharing would not be good for them or for us."

09/30/11 (GMM) The government of Valencia has left open the door to annually alternating its formula one street race with Spain's other grand prix venue Barcelona beyond 2014. After a meeting with mayor Rita Barbera this week, Valencia sport minister Dolores Johnson told the EFE news agency that the government will honor the existing contract for a race every year until 2014.

Beyond the current contract that is "in force", Johnson said Valencia intends to extend the deal only "in the best conditions".

The specialist Spanish media has interpreted the comment as a clear signal that Valencia is considering alternating a single annual F1 date with Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. Red Bull designer Adrian Newey recently expressed regret that the future of permanent circuits like Barcelona is imperiled by the rise of temporary venues.

"I gather there's a danger that Barcelona could be lost relative to Valencia and I think that would be a tragedy," he said.

The fastest way to lose your GP is to tell Bernie you want to pay less. Rumors of Barcelona's demise started immediately

07/26/11 (GMM) The Valencian government has not confirmed reports that its street circuit may alternatively share a single annual grand prix with Barcelona.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone admitted at the Nurburgring last weekend that talks are "on" about hosting races at the two venues on alternate years.

But earlier this month, the Valencia sport minister Dolores Johnson had said it would be "very good" if the port city was the only Spanish venue in F1.

This week, she said she has "no news" about the situation except to insist that it is Ecclestone "who works out the schedule".

"I reiterate that there is nothing new (to say). As far as the European grand prix (at Valencia) is concerned, the contract that we have remains in force, and as soon as there is anything else we will let you know," Johnson told the EFE news agency.

When asked specifically about the reports of Barcelona and Valencia alternating annually, she added that the latter venue would support "any possibility to make the grand prix stronger".

Valencia mayor Rita Barbera, meanwhile, said she is "convinced" that Ecclestone remains fully supportive of the city's race, even if she could provide no details about whether he "is open to an alternation (with Valencia) or not".

07/01/11 (GMM) The Circuit de Catalunya has reportedly kicked off talks to retain its place on the formula one calendar.

Although Barcelona has been assigned a provisional date on the 2012 schedule, reports this week said Spain's only formula one race next year might be hosted by Valencia.

Circuit de Catalunya chief Salvador Servia described the reports as "invented" but Spain's AS sports newspaper indicates that there is some truth to the speculation.

For example, the report said Barcelona has commenced talks to annually alternate a single Spanish grand prix with Valencia, the scene of last week's race on the streets of the port city.

At the same time AS said the Valencian government "has already begun to exchange documents" with Bernie Ecclestone about hosting the Spanish grand prix with an early European-season date through 2021.

06/29/11 (GMM) Officials have played down reports Valencia is set to be the only Spanish host of formula one.

Currently, both the port city as well as Barcelona host annual grands prix, but Bernie Ecclestone said recently that each country should have only a single race.

On Tuesday, Cadena SER and Radio Valencia reported that Valencia will be the only Spanish race from 2012.

It is believed representatives of the Circuit de Catalunya attended last weekend's Valencia event and told Ecclestone they want to pay a lower annual race fee in future.

At the same time, the Spanish radio reports said Valencia is willing to pay EUR 20 million per year and wants an earlier date in the European race season.

"At the last World Motor Sport Council the 2012 calendar was ratified and Barcelona was assigned a date," Spanish motor racing president Carlos Gracia said.

"I think the two races can coexist perfectly."

Circuit de Catalunya director Salvador Servia, meanwhile, told Marca sports newspaper that the latest reports about Barcelona losing its place are "invented".

"Spain has just held two successful grands prix. Everything else I would hope are just rumors," he said on Onda Cero radio.

"I think someone has said 'I want this to happen' and so somebody else said 'This is going to happen'. For next year they have already set the dates," added Servia.

06/28/11 (GMM) Valencia will be the only Spanish date on next year's formula one calendar.

That was the claim on Tuesday of Radio Valencia as well as Cadena SER, the premier Spanish radio network.

The reports said Valencia, the Spanish port city and host of last Sunday's European grand prix, will take on the mantle of the Spanish grand prix in 2012 and beyond.

Also on Tuesday, Valencia mayor Rita Barbera told the EFE news agency the city wanted an earlier date on future F1 calendars.

In May, Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya hosted Spain's long-standing other F1 race, the Spanish grand prix.

Tuesday's radio reports said the fact Valencia will host the only Spanish F1 race in 2012 was based on a "verbal agreement" that will soon be memorialized in writing.

The event's new deal, reportedly agreed by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone at the weekend, runs through 2021 and gives Valencia the May date usually reserved for Barcelona.

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