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Barcelona still hoping to ink new deal

NEWS STORY
13/05/2019

Amidst talk that Zandvoort is to replace Barcelona on the calendar next year, the Spanish circuit's boss remains hopeful that a new deal can still be agreed.

One of five races in the last year of their current contract, there has been a shadow hanging over the future of the Spanish Grand Prix for some time, first with the withdrawal of government funding then the 'retirement' of Fernando Alonso.

And though Carlos Sainz is now the only Spaniard on the grid, Barcelona, always a popular destination for race fans, still managed impressive spectator numbers over the weekend.

However, with the Spanish track, like Silverstone and others, seeking a significant cut in its hosting fee, F1 bosses are understandably looking at the Verstappen factor and Zandvoort.

Speculation linking the coastal track with a return to the F1 schedule has increased in intensity over the last couple of years, and in recent weeks, now that the track has been given the all-clear for the return of the sport it last hosted in 1985, it has been claimed that it will replace Barcelona in 2020.

Last November, Charlie Whiting confirmed that Zandvoort had the potential to host F1 again, and just a month later, a letter of intent was sent to Formula One Management.

However, speaking at the weekend, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya boss, Vicens Aguilera, remained hopeful of agreeing a new deal.

"It is a coincidence that the grand prix has taken place while we are in this process," he said, according to Motorsport.com, "so after the weekend we will continue our talks about the future of the race.

"It's not easy to put everything together but we are in the process," he added. "We have to use the time we have. We don't have a deadline, but I know that we cannot arrive to the summer without a solution.

"If we have to use 'extra time' we will do it if we get the deal. The goal is to have a reasonable agreement for both parties. If we are smart enough we will find a solution."

It's claimed that Zandvoort will fill Barcelona's traditional May slot on the 2020, which, if the Spanish track can agree a new deal, would mean an alternative slot on the calendar.

"First we have to finish the deal for the agreement, which is the most important thing," said Aguilera. "Then we have to discuss the date.

"This is a second level discussion," he admitted, "first and most important is to arrange the deal. I wish I can have this date discussion after signing the new agreement. If we have to move the date, then let's see what happens. We have one tradition with the date in May but it's not a concern to us."

Last week Chase Carey admitted that two current (2019) races are to be dropped for next year, and with Monza having agreed a new deal, this leaves Barcelona, Hockenheim, Mexico City and Silverstone still to come to an agreement with FOM.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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