Barcelona (ACN).- From 2013, Catalunya and València will share the organisation of their Formula-1 Grand Prix in order to reduce costs. In 2013 the race would be held in the Catalunya Circuit and València would not host any F-1 race. In 2014, it would be the other way around. In 2012, both circuits will host their own Grand Prix. Bernie Ecclestone, the President and CEO of Formula One Manegement, confirmed the rumours on Thursday to a Spanish radio station. Ecclestone sees the Grand Prix’s alternation every two years as a positive solution taking into account the financial difficulties of the public sector, which pays for part of the costs. In addition, the British tycoon would free one spot in the calendar to place another Grand Prix, such as New Jersey’s, with views of the New York skyline. However, Ecclestone added that some details need still to be agreed, since the economic conditions regarding both circuits are different, as well as the time they are organised. On Friday, Valencia’s Vice President, José Císcar, confirmed that “a verbal agreement has been reached”, but that an agreement regarding the calendar still needs to be reached.
The Circuit de Catalunya, located in Montmeló, in Greater Barcelona, has hosted the Formula-1 Grand Prix of Spain since 1991. Valencia wanted to organise its own race and since 2008 it organises the Grand Prix of Europe in an urban circuit around its port. The Circuit de Catalunya has a running contract to organise the Grand Prix every year until 2016, and Valencia until 2014.
However, despite being in a different financial situation, both the Valencian and Catalan Governments need to reduce public spending in order to meet the deficit targets. In this context, running with the costs of organising a Grand Prix is a heavy burden. The Catalunya Circuit ended 2011 with a deficit of € 4.7 million, assumed by the Catalan Government. However, the economic impact that organising the Grand Prix has in the Catalan economy is not included. The Grand Prix is organised in a racing circuit with Catalonia’s name on it, strengthening its recognition worldwide. Furthermore, the people going to the race generate a direct economic impact that ranges between €130 million and €78 million (depending on the year), in terms of hotels, restaurants, transport and other services.
In fact, before the economic crisis, the Catalan Government did not lose money with the Grand Prix. The Circuit de Catalunya’s President, Vicenç Aguilera, told ACN, before the economic crisis, that the Circuit “was sustainable”. At that time the Circuit the F-1 race attracted 140,000 visitors to its facilities. However, over the last number of years, the number has almost been reduced by half, with 80,000 spectators. Finally, Aguilera stated that the solution to share the Grand Prix with València is temporary and that Catalonia’s ambition is to host a Grand Prix permanently, as it has done over the last 22 years.