Despite looking odds-on for a departure from the F1 calendar, the Spanish Grand Prix appears to have secured a stay of execution for the coming season.
With Formula One ever looking to expanding in to new territories under Liberty Media, and the teams reluctant to move beyond the 20 - 21 race schedule of recent years, several of the out-of-contract events have found themselves under significant pressure for their place on the calendar in recent months.
Of those without a deal for next season, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has long been touted as one of those expected to fall away from the schedule, a position made even more perilous following the departure of home hero and major crowd puller Fernando Alonso at the end of last season.
However, in surprise news today, it looks like the well-regarded Spanish round has secured the necessary funding and backing to secure a new one-year contract extension, keeping one of the more historic events on the expanding 2020 F1 schedule.
"The executive council has today authorised the Circuits de Catalunya, SL society to sign a one-year extension of the contract for the organisation of the F1 Spanish Grand Prix for the year 2020 with the Formula One World Championship Limited company," said the Govern de la Generalitat de Catalunya in a statement.
"The subsequent signing guarantees the 30th consecutive event at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in Montmelo.
"The F1 Grand Prix in Catalonia is an event that contributes to the positioning of Catalonia in the areas of tourism and the automotive industry.
"Its continuity will also allow the presence of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the calendar of the main national and international motor competitions while a long-term strategic plan for the Circuit de Catalunya is drawn up."With Spanish star Carlos Sainz gaining in confidence and pace as his McLaren team continue to make strides back up towards the front of the grid, it is indeed great news to see one of the more popular events retain a place on the calendar in the face of increasing expansion into new territories and lifeless Tilkedrome venues (with some exceptions, of course).
Considering Barcelona is now back on, this deal puts increasing pressure on Germany and Mexico, the two other countries currently thought to be under threat for the coming season.
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