Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2019

F1 extends race contracts with circuits holding events behind closed doors

2020 F1 season

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Some promoters who have agreed to hold F1 races behind closed doors this year have extended their contracts.

The Hungaroring has joined Monza in extending its existing contract by a single year.

Holding races behind closed doors will deprive the circuits of income from ticket sales. Hungaroring circuit CEO Zsolt Gyulay said F1 has significantly reduced its fee for this year’s event and cut the yearly rate rise for its additional race, both of which will ease the financial pressure on the race.

“We have been liaising with Liberty Media how to compensate the missing profit, because organisational cost is not lower in case of a closed event,” said Gulaly.

“We did our best during the discussions to get a good agreement both for the country and the sport even in these challenging times. We cannot say exact numbers, but rights fee is fragment of the one we pay in case of an open event.

“Furthermore, we have achieved an extension in our contract, so now it is valid until 2027 instead of 2026. Yearly increase of the rights fee also has been reduced, so we spared several billions of HUF [Hungarian Forints] for the state. All in all, I can say that we were wise and we spared a lot.”

Formula 1’s motorsport managing director Ross Brawn told RaceFans they would not ‘prop up’ struggling promoters but have taken steps to make races more affordable due to the financial pressures generated by the pandemic.

“We’re not in the business of financially supporting a promoter who’s in trouble, but we are in the business of having good partnerships for the long term,” said Brawn in an exclusive interview.

“So how we arrive at the agreements for the next few years, in some cases some circuits have extended their contract by a year because they’ve lost this year. That gives them that stability.”

“We’ve been fairly realistic I think in the approach we’re taking,” he added. “The main focus is ‘how can we make sure you’re here in the future’?

“But I don’t think that involves propping up promoters in the short term. I don’t think we can do that.”

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6 comments on “F1 extends race contracts with circuits holding events behind closed doors”

  1. I’m surprised the circuits still paying without any income from the event. I thought it would be the other way round and F1 would have to rent the track to use it.

    1. Bill Shorter
      5th June 2020, 19:58

      I wondered this as well. I guess I never really thought about who gets as revenue from track signage. That could be a significant source of income for the facility. What other revenue streams are available to the track instead of ticket sales?

      1. I imagine the track side sponsors will pay more if there’s a Grand Prix and possibly government grants only apply if there’s one.

      2. Liberty Media gets the track signage fees, the tracks do not. The tracks get ticket and food money and that’s about it. Oddly enough the tracks can’t use pictures of actual F1 cars or races, etc. in advertising as Liberty considers them intellectual property…….

    2. The reduced fees mean they effectively get their race free and get paid the costs of staging. It also means they’re locked in longer so it’s win-win all round.

  2. Wow! Has Ross replaced Bernie as F1’s deal-maker/rule-maker/PR flak? Hope he’s not neglecting his duties as F1’s Chief Immunologist.

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