Spanish GP could get surprise 2020 F1 calendar reprieve

The Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix could be set for a surprise 2020 reprieve, with sources revealing Barcelona officials are in advanced talks about a new deal

Spanish GP could get surprise 2020 F1 calendar reprieve

The race is one of five events whose contracts ran out this year, and there was a growing belief that it would lose its slot.

F1 owner Liberty Media has been clear that the calendar would likely remain at 21 races next season and the addition of new grands prix in the Netherlands and Vietnam meant two current races would lose out.

With Italian GP officials having said earlier this year that they had sorted financial matters with F1, and Britain having announced a new deal, it was thought that Mexico would beat Spain and Germany to taking the final available slot.

While the situation did not look positive for Spain, it is understood that discussions have moved on behind the scenes and a plan is being put in place for a single-year extension.

This would then give track chiefs extra breathing space to try to negotiate a longer term contract from 2021, which is especially important considering uncertainty over the government that may not be resolved until later this year.

To help move things forward, it is understood the government has offered a guarantee of the race hosting fee as a short term measure.

Should the talks get across the line and the 2020 deal signed, then the next issue to sort will be when the race slots into the calendar.

A statement issued by the Barcelona circuit said "no agreement has been reached yet" but that "the negotiations for the renewal of the agreement with Formula 1 continue, and are still open".

It had previously been expected that the European season would kick off with the returning Dutch GP at Zandvoort, but that has not been set in stone.

The 2020 F1 season will begin in Australia on March 15, with Bahrain expected to follow two weeks later.

A fortnight after that Vietnam and China are set to run back-to-back. That would then leave the first European race set for a May 3 date.

With the Netherlands facing a tight deadline to get its circuit and infrastructure modifications sorted, there have been suggestions that the event could be moved back - and Spain retakes its traditional spot as the first European race.

The Netherlands could still be slotted in for a provisional May 10 slot, which would then give Liberty extra freedom for it be shuffled back further if the circuit needed more time.

One other scenario is the Dutch GP gets the May 3 slot and Spain is moved back to much later in the season, although this is something Spanish GP race organisers have previously said they were not especially eager for.

Barcelona circuit president Vicenc Aguilera told Autosport earlier this year: "September is not good, that will be absolutely not acceptable for us, because we have typical rain here.

"It's a crazy thing, and we'd have a big mess - it would be a disaster. And why should you pay for a disaster? July is too hot. It should be May. But I will not discuss dates until we have a contract."

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