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The government of Valencia has revealed that it is seeking to renegotiate its contract with Bernie Ecclestone, thereby raising fears that Europe could be on the verge of losing another round of the championship.
"The big events are under full and absolute review," said Jose Ciscar, vice-president of the Generalitat Valenciana. "They are not viable as they have been until now. The big events have had an important value up until now but the circumstances force us to prioritise."
Though he stopped short of admitting that he was considering cancelling the deal, he warned that such a move cannot be ruled out.
"With contracts signed, we can't be imprudent because the penalty could cost us more. We have to find balanced solutions," he said, adding that; "we do not discount anything."
Fact is that this doesn't come as a surprise. Despite the hype that surrounds so many of the new races, especially those being held against what the sport's powers that be see as 'glamorous backdrops', Valencia has not proved popular with the fans. The layout makes racing (overtaking) impossible, while the bland featureless backdrop has singularly failed to capture the imagination.
Ecclestone has known this for some time, for much like interest in F1 in Germany waned following Michael Schumacher's 'retirement', so interest in Spain has dropped off as Fernando Alonso's grip on the sport has weakened. While America looks forward to the prospect of two races from 2013, Bernie Ecclestone and a number of team bosses have said that countries can no longer support two events.
It is known that Ecclestone has considered alternating the Spanish round of the world championship between Barcelona and Valencia, a move which would financially appear to please all concerned. However, Ciscar's comments would appear to suggest that like so many other venues have previously discovered, F1 isn't the cash cow the powers that be would have them believe. Or rather it is, but the money is flowing in the wrong direction.
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