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2018 F1

Barcelona hopes for new F1 contract

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Organisers of the Spanish grand prix are still not sure they will reach a new agreement with Liberty Media.

Vicenc Aguilera, the Circuit de Catalunya boss, told Spanish reporters he hopes to sit down with the F1 owner “in three or four months”.

“We are working on it but we have to do things right,” he said. “The goal is to renew but the game is yet to be played.”

Aguilera acknowledged that Liberty Media has “alternatives” to Barcelona, but said the current Spanish grand prix venue has a lot going for it.

“We have to know how to play the cards we have,” he said.

“When we face a contract renewal, we must look at our ability to generate revenue, what we pay for the contract, the conditions under which we manage the grand prix — there are many variables and we will see how it progresses.”

While Liberty has inked a deal with new organisers in Vietnam, many European circuits including Silverstone, Hockenheim and Monza say it is difficult for them to make money.

“The health of the circuit is clearly good in its structure,” said Aguilera, “but financially it is mediocre.

“We are not able to generate resources and cope with losses due to the current harsh conditions. We need extra contributions,” he added.

El Mundo Deportivo newspaper said the local government has been contributing EUR 2.5 million, but that amount is now being cut to 1.5m.

“We have had an agreement that has lasted three years and now we have to consider what to do for 2020,” Aguilera said.

“In 2019 there are elections right after the grand prix and we will see what happens.”

Another Barcelona boss, Joan Fontsere, admitted he is relieved that the F1 teams at least decided to keep the circuit as the sole winter test venue for 2019.

“It was the hardest negotiation that I have faced to date,” he said.

“This year’s snowfall did not help because the teams want to test in optimal conditions, but the commitment to improvement and those who appreciate the circuit in technical terms meant they decided to stay.”

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