Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Spanish GP boss vows to “fight like a devil” to protect race

2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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The president of the Circuit de Catalunya vows he will “fight like a devil” to keep its F1 race following reports the Spanish Grand Prix could move to a street track in Madrid.

Media reports in Spain have suggested the race could be relocated as a political move in response to last year’s Catalan independence referendum.

The Catalan region declared independence from Spain following the referendum. In response the Spanish government assumed direct control of the region.

This has prompted claims the race will be moved away from Catalunya as political retribution, with a street race in Madrid thought a likely alternative.

Vicenç Aguilera, who has been president of the circuit since 2013, told RaceFans “I cannot put the circuit independent of the government because 76% of the circuit is the property of the generalitat [the Catalan government].”

But he said he is prepared to lobby to keep the race at its current venue. “I have no problems to go to Madrid to explain the situation to go ahead with the Formula One. We have Carlos Sainz, we have Fernando Alonso, we have a long tradition. Spain has a lot of F1 races in its history: Jarama, Jerez, Valencia, Barcelona…

“I have no special worry. Formula One in Spain has grown a lot in the last 20 years, I don’t expect that we should throw away such a nice history.”

The Circuit de Catalunya has a contract to appear on the 2019 F1 calendar but its deal expires after next season.

Discussions with FOM about a new contract should begin soon, said Aguilera. “We are in close contact with [Chase] Carey,” he said. “We have a good connection, I feel very comfortable to start to talk in some weeks and think about how to organise the future.”

Aguilera is sceptical about a rumoured race in Madrid. “It’s not a strong movement. I think there is not a rival team to fight officially for a race in Madrid.”

Madrid’s mayor Manuela Carmena is not thought to be supportive of having a race in the Spanish capital. “They have problems in the city, the mayor of the city, it’s also complicated. Everywhere there are problems. It’s not so easy.

“I understand, I am sure that the people from Madrid say ‘we would like to have the Formula One’. But if we go to a more logical solution, it’s to have [it] in Barcelona.

“I expect that the relationship will be good enough to fight and to win. I hope. But I will fight like a devil to keep the F1 here.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Spanish GP boss vows to “fight like a devil” to protect race”

  1. Not another st track! They are narrow short and boring in most cases. The proposed Miami layout is a case in point.

    1. The Circuit de Catalunya is one of most boring ones on the calendar. There are better options in Spain.

  2. The circuit is great fun to drive for the drivers and it’ll throw a good race here and there, plus it’s important for the teams on a development standpoint. I like that Liberty is pushing to ‘bring F1 to the people’ with fan festivals and street tracks, but it makes no sense to go for a street circuit in a country that has at least one Grade A circuit that has been around for as long as the Circuit de Catalunya

  3. Surely, for the Spanish government, keeping the Spanish Grand Prix in Catalonia makes more sense, politically, no?

    1. Duncan Snowden
      13th May 2018, 21:36

      You’d think so. But they’ve been making a complete pig’s ear of the situation for years, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t see it that way. That said, there could be security concerns if this drags on. If it had been scheduled for the end of the season rather than near the beginning, I’m not sure anyone would have been happy holding it at all last year. But a street track in Madrid? What’s wrong with Jerez (that couldn’t be put right by a few strategically-applied bulldozers)?

      I couldn’t help noticing that it was Aguilera himself, rather than any politicians, who presented the winner’s trophy today. The closest they got was the relatively safe choice of the local mayor for second place. That was pretty well played, I thought.

  4. This was already don in the recent past.

    Remember Valencia?

    After helding some 3?4?) European GPs there, it was intended to switch Spanish GP between Valencia and Catalunya, but this was never done.

  5. Justin (@vivagilles27)
    16th May 2018, 19:53

    I don’t like to see a “traditional” race drop off the calendar, but this circuit consistently delivers boaring races (26 of 29 races won from the front row). I think they need to rethink the track layout to fit today’s cars and create some passing or step aside and let another venue host the race.

Comments are closed.