Government greenlights F1 grand prix at Circuit de Catalunya for another year
With contract to hold event expiring this year, authorities give nod for Montmeló to host race in 2020 while preparing long-term plan for national track
The government has given the greenlight for the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix to be held next year at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, after the contract expired this year.
Circuits de Catalunya, the company that organizes the event at the race track in Montmeló, half an hour outside Barcelona, is now free to sign a one-year extension to the contract.
That will mean the venue will host the major international event for the 30th consecutive year, as the government sees the race as a key contributor to tourism and the auto industry.
With the grand prix assured for one more year, the government is currently working on a long-term strategic plan for the Circuit de Catalunya.
Good news for local business
The news will no doubt be welcomed by local businesses in and around the track, as the possibility of losing such a prestigious international event had been causing concern.
Over 160,000 spectators attend the annual event, and it is estimated that losing the race would have meant 40% of workers in the local hotel sector could have lost their jobs.
Last year, the head of the Vallès Oriental hoteliers association, Enric Gisbert, told the Catalan News Agency that his members were "frankly worried" about losing the event.
One of the oldest car races in the world, the Spanish Grand Prix celebrated its centenary in 2013. It moved to the Montmeló track in 1991, where it has been held ever since.
This year's race was on May 12, and was won by British driver Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), with Finland's Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) coming second, and Dutch driver Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing-Honda) in third place.