Baku organisers eye return to June slot

26/04/2019
NEWS STORY

While last year's Azerbaijan Grand Prix was held in April, the 2017 event, and 2016, when it was run as the European Grand Prix, both took place in June.

Now, organisers in Baku are seeking a switch back to the original June slot on the calendar.

With a new deal that sees Baku remain on the schedule until 2023, the city would like to return to its original slot which was changed last year to accommodate the return of the French Grand Prix.

With Baku one of the host cities for Euro 2020 next year, with matches due to take place in June and July, officials feel that the Grand Prix would give added incentive to tourists.

It's a bit complicated for us," said promoter Arif Rahimov, "specifically for next year because we're hosting the three group games and one quarter-final for the European football championships.

"And we want to be in June as well," he continued, "so we're trying to figure out if there is a slot where we can fit in.

"We would want to move back to June," he admitted. "The weather is a bit more predictable, the build-up is easier, you have less winds, less rain. It's warmer overall. But we'll see.

"It's good to have it to create this festival feeling for three weeks," he said of the idea of fitting the Grand Prix into the schedule alongside the football. "I think given the logistical restrictions of Formula 1 we kind of have to stick to some guidelines to see whether we can actually make it happen. We traditionally have Canada in June, we have European races coming in June, like France, so it just needs to make sense logistically.

"It's not up to us, F1 has to sort out how they move things from one race to another. We are a flyaway race and traditionally there were no fly-aways in the summer.

"I don't know if they are going to arrange something different for next year to help this happen but I think it's time to start thinking about it, because if we are looking at 22 or 24 races on the calendar then you have to be prepared for all kinds of scenarios."

Check out our Friday gallery from Baku, here.

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Published: 26/04/2019
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