JANUARY 25, 2024
Losing Spanish GP name not important to Barcelona
A Barcelona politician is "convinced" that a deal will be done to keep the Circuit de Catalunya on the Formula 1 calendar.
It is already known, however, that a glitzy new city race in Madrid will take over the Spanish GP moniker from 2026 - although F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has not ruled out a new contract for Barcelona.
But a new deal would be expensive, given that Spanish media sources report that Madrid is paying EUR 60 million per year for its new F1 race - more than double Barcelona's current fee.
The Madrid event reportedly has the backing of billionaire Stephen Ross, who is behind not only the new Miami GP but also Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Dolphins.
And El Mundo Deportivo says the Madrid funding has also been linked to another billionaire, Carlos Slim, who has backed Sergio Perez's career for many years.
Nonetheless, Roger Torrent, the Catalonia government's business minister, told Catalan radio RAC1 on Wednesday that he is
very optimistic a deal will be done to keep F1 in Barcelona.
I am convinced that there will be a renewal of the contract, he insisted. "We have an excellent relationship with Formula 1 and we are working on that basis.
We will have two fantastic grands prix, Torrent added.
The best in history.
When asked how he feels about Barcelona definitely losing the 'Spanish GP' official title from 2026, however, he insisted that
for us, the name is not important.
And the minister is confident the Circuit de Catalunya will be able to match Domenicali's push for new and existing races to agree very long-term deals - like Madrid's decade-long contract.
For us, the longer the better, said Torrent.
However, he admitted that the Madrid deal has turned up the pressure.
There is a lot of pressure in general and a lot of competitiveness, said the minister,
but Formula 1 is comfortable with us. And we don't pay attention to others.
As for the rumours of Madrid's eye-watering 60 million euro deal per race, Torrent answered: "We know where we are and we know where we can go.
We are modernising the facilities, the infrastructure, which was already needed, he added, "and we are turning it into the best permanent circuit in Europe and probably in the world.
We are talking (with F1), Torrent added. "We have been talking for a long time, but we follow our own rhythm. The relationship between Formula 1 and Catalonia will be decided only by Formula 1 and Catalonia. There is no element that makes us go faster or puts us under more pressure.
In 2024 we will have a grand prix and as Domenicali himself has recognised, our excellent relationship is the basis that makes us work on the renewal that I am convinced will occur.