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F1 open to hosting fee renegotiation

NEWS STORY
23/04/2020

In a case of what must surely be termed 'the blindingly obvious', Joan Fontsere, general manager at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, says that F1 bosses are aware that race hosting fees will need to be negotiated in the case of races being held behind closed doors.

With F1 looking to put together a calendar of up to 19 races, beginning mostly in Europe, it is taken for granted that some - if not all - of these races will need to be held behind closed doors not only in a bid to get around some of the ongoing bans on public gatherings but because even if the all-clear is given it would be rash to tempt fate.

Indeed, even as Fontsere revealed that he has spoken to F1 bosses about the need to renegotiate hosting fees, should his track be included on the revised calendar, albeit as one of those to which fans are not allowed access, the country's prime minister, Pedro Sanchez revealed that the current lockdown will be extended into the second half of May.

"They are conscious that this is an exceptional situation," Fontsere told the Associated Press. "We are obviously on the same page.

"If they want to keep some races on because of the TV rights, because of the teams… they know that our income (will be reduced)," he continued, "they realize that this year it will be like that, so for sure we are on the same page."

For "reduced", in some cases you can read non-existent, as in most cases ticket money is the only money that organizers receive. And while many receive government support, this isn't as prevalent in Europe as it is in the case of most of the new additions to the calendar.

While a race without spectators would not only mean no ticket money, circuits would still need to spend on various items including safety measures, policing and the like.

Consequently, as previously reported in most cases either F1 would have to pay circuits to host events or at least waive the fees.

Though the Barcelona event receives government backing this, like many others, is down to the economic boost the race gives to the region, however a race without spectators would mean no spending in hotels, restaurants or bars.

Indeed, according to the race organizers, last year's event attracted 160,000 people, and over the course of the year the circuit, which also hosts pre-season testing, benefitted the region to the tune of 300 million euros (£263m).

"When the Catalan government invests in F1, it's not only for the tickets that we sell," said Fontsere, "it's also for the financial impact that the event has in the country, in Catalonia. The economic impact for the country will be very reduced. It means no income for taxis, for hotels… so that changes completely the agreement between the two parties."

At a time there is talk of back-to-back races, Fontsere says his circuit is "completely at the disposal" of F1, but is aware that it may yet not host a race this year.

"We need to reduce two things: costs and risks," he said, referring to the idea of a shortened race weekend. "So the fewer people we move, the smaller the risk, and the fewer days we use and the fewer activities we do, the lower the costs. It's an exceptional season and exceptional decisions need to be taken."

Claiming that the circuit could be ready, if given the all-clear, to host a race in "two to three weeks", he adds: "As soon as we can restart the season, I'm sure that it will be with European race... and we will be around there."

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1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 22/04/2020 19:34

"F1 should be renting the track for a fee and splitting the gate with the circuit / promotor so that everyone wins.
There is incentives for the circuit to put on a good show and have punters through the gate and that is the same for F1 as a whole.
That's a scenario for later.
Assuming that we get some racing this year then each circuit used should apply for a discount at least equivilant to what they took at the gate on average for the past three years.
I still have no idea how a ban on mass gatherings can be circumvented when there would be 60 to 90 team members, the tire team, broadcast team, marshals and other volunteers. Also, all those people need to be fed so who's going to do that. Where will they all stay?
And that doesn't even take into account the international travel involved."

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2. Posted by nnails, 22/04/2020 18:06

"F1 needs the circuits more than circuits need f1. For a union make f1 pay g
For there greed"

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3. Posted by alvarezh3, 22/04/2020 16:10 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 22/04/2020 16:16)

"Ups!

"

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