Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Catalunya government approves 2019 Spanish GP fee

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In the round-up: Plans for next year’s Spanish Grand Prix are proceeding but its current deal expires after the 2019 F1 season.

2019 Spanish Grand Prix

Max Verstappen, Zandvoort, 2017
Hanoi and Zandvoort: Well-timed good news for Liberty
The government of Catalunya has given formal approval to pay the race hosting fee for the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix. The fee has to be signed off each year once the 2019 race calendar has been approved.

The 2019 race is the last in the Circuit de Catalunya’s current contract to host the race, which it has held every year since 1991.

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Comment of the day

Is Romain Grosjean right that drivers are making fewer mistakes in races because they’re driving so far within the limit of their cars?

Great comment from Romain Grosjean, if drivers are going so slowly so that they don’t need to worry about making any mistakes, we have a real problem.

Car management has always been racing but I can’t remember it being so obvious and to the forefront that drivers say its too slow. Liberty really needs to start making some inroads on what they want F1 to be, sooner rather than later.
Sean Kettlewood (@Skettlewood)

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  • 42 comments on “Catalunya government approves 2019 Spanish GP fee”

    1. Can Hamilton be absorbed any further up his own backside??

      Picking color ways for clothing is not designing. Go back to lifting and coasting your way to “driver’s championships”.

      1. It’s very disappointing that the amusing responses to this ridiculous comment were removed @keithcollantine

    2. It a bit of a conundrum when it comes to bringing races to countries without racing tradition if you’d like. Sure a lot of the “newer additions” to the grand prix circuit had little or no racing roots, but it is undeniable that hosting the race did significantly grow the F1 fanbase.

      I grew up in Malaysia, where MotoGP is and always has been king (just look at the crowds during the last round at Sepang). In the 90s there was little no live F1 coverage on TV, when we went school on Monday, we talked about Mic Doohan and Max Biaggi, not Schumacher or Villeneuve. This all changed on its head after 99. F1 was everywhere, live on TV and the fan base just grew significantly. Still not the levels of MotoGP, and this was predominantly down to the prohibitive cost of buying a ticket. For most average Malaysians, although Sepang was one of the lowest priced tickets from a global perspective, it was still beyond their reach.

      Moving onto a place like India for example, it made good business sense to host a race, in fact F1 would have totally stupid to not have done so. A country with such a huge population, all you needed was top into a small percentage of that, a segment of society that is wealthy, and that does not add up to an insignificant number.

      As a passionate F1 fan, I don’t want the great old circuits of Europe to disappear off the calendar, the likes Spa and Silverstone are institutions, and I sincerely hope they never get dropped. But, its understandable that F1 does need to address the drop of in fan interest, and the easiest way to do it is to add more races to prop the numbers up. Addressing the actual issues that affect racing and viewership is too hard to solve for now, so bring on Hanoi. It will be great race to attend, but the question would be how many locals would actually be able to afford tickets?

      1. @jaymenon10 – good comment.

      2. @jaymenon10 I’ve suggested previously that the way to achieve this is to have a rotating calendar. you could identify a few mainstay races that will happen every year (e.g. monaco, monza, silverstone, spa) and the others will happen every other year (or less frequently depending on local need/resource). I would rotate regional races so that there aren’t 2 races close together in the same season which compete with each other for fans.

        how you work it out would be a delicate matter, but it’s not beyond the wit of man to achieve a good balance.
        it would also make it possible to reduce the length of the calendar, which would strengthen the championship greatly – personally I think 16 was the optimum number, but 17 or 18 would be just about ok. at the moment it just drags on and on, each individual race is diminished as an event, and there are surely some races we could happily do without (russia and abu dhabi immediately spring to mind).

    3. What’s Catalunya paying to hold the race? Must be more than Sao Paulo.

      Would like to see Seidl at Williams or McLaren. Either team would be wise to hire him.

      1. @jimmi-cynic

        I’d say it is most likely Williams. Mclaren seem to have their structure set in place now (pending the arrival of James Key of course).

        Seidl should take over the entire racing operation. Claire Williams should move up into a more CEO/Director role.

        1. I reckon Torso Rosso as Keys replacement and it keeps Redbull with fingers in Porsches pie in the unlikely even that they build a pu one day.

    4. it was a shame what happened to India. Considering it is one of the worlds biggest economies and a considerable industrial power, having a Grand Prix there was a good idea. It had- and still has- great potential; I wish other series (like the WEC, MotoGP or the WTCC) would go to Buddh. I would say the same about Turkey and maybe Korea (if the latter had been held in or near Seoul).

      And then, there are Grand Prixs that I am against. The one in Bahrain is a good example- that race should not have been held after 2010, the circuit sucks and that race is purely a show for the royal family and their friends there: and F1 only needs one race in the Middle East and it should be at the Dubai Autodrome, which is a fairly decent circuit in what is probably the most cosmopolitan city in the Middle East. Another is this Vietnam race. Most people in Vietnam do not have cars- that is a luxury for the wealthy there. So most people ride small motorcycles- which is why a MotoGP race would be a good idea there. Another race I don’t much like is the Chinese Grand Prix. F1 should be in the Chinese market, but not on the Chinese mainland. A street race in Hong Kong would be a good idea- HK is a good bridge between the West and China. And finally- there should be either a Russian or Azerbaijan GP- not both. The Azerbaijan GP is the one that should be kept- the Sochi Autodrome is the worst circuit in F1 and everyone knows it- yes, it’s worse than Abu Dhabi.

      1. Interesting comment it does certainly revive the old question of whether a country deserves a F1 GP on grounds of their political/moral stands. I agree that some countries do not deserve a race as they use it to prop up their leaders and promote their regimes. Sth Africa under apartheid, but also Russia after the invasion of Ukraine or China and it’s suppression of Tibet and shortly Hong Kong and the treatment of the Uyghurs.
        Also their is zero evidence that allowing these countries to host these sporting events does anything to improve conditions or free up political freedoms.
        But it can raise some sticky questions for others. As an example Australia with its current record on refugees and it’s treatment of Aboriginals does it deserve a GP?
        By the way I’m Australian.

        1. @johnrkh – I was about to respond to your comment further down, but then noticed that here you’ve touched on some of the points I’d have made. :-)

          it does certainly revive the old question of whether a country deserves a F1 GP on grounds of their political/moral stands … But it can raise some sticky questions for others.

          Very true, and it raises the question whose rulebook do we play out of to determine the go/no-go list. Should Liberty (as an American org) toe the US Government’s line, stay away from places like Russia, but remain friendly with the Middle East? Or, in the interest of international equality, should the FIA take the required stance and get a list of countries from the UNOSDP? It gets a bit messy.

        2. Australia is a far more stable, less oppressive country than any of those third world countries; that opinion is based on what I have on the internet and TV; I haven’t been there yet. At least South Africa (and Argentina between 1977 and 1981) had an interest an interest in motor racing and had drivers from those countries who were successful in F1 (Jody Scheckter and Carlos Reutemann, and before that Fangio), and of course the Kyalami and Buenos Aires circuits were both epic back then. I guess you could say the same about Russia but if you asked any user on this website what they thought of the Sochi Autodrome, they would say “Turn 3 is good but the rest of it is awful”.

    5. Great comment from Romain Grosjean, if drivers are going so slowly so that they don’t need to worry about making any mistakes, we have a real problem.

      It’d take Grosjean’s comments (as alluded to in the CotD) with a pinch of salt – he’s the guy who crashed under SC conditions!

      1. @phylyp: Zing!

        But actually makes his case stronger – these designed-to-degrade are to hard to warm up. And when the tire warmers disappear in 2021, everyone will crash after a pitstop – so 0 stops will be the best strategy. ;-)

        1. @phylyp – ah, so he was putting heat into his tyres at Spain, was he. My bad, I’d assumed it was something else.

          1. @phylyp – apparently not enough.

            Not how you switch on the tyres:

            “I was warming up my tyres and bumped into a switch that I’d moved by two positions. When I touched the brakes, the brake balance was locked rearward – it just locked the rear wheels and I spun.”

          2. It's me @johnmilk
            15th November 2018, 6:18

            I thought he was talking about Brasil, but that was the formation lap, then I remembered Baku, but it was Ericsson’s fault

      2. You are not contradicting his point though. The real problem could be grosjean himself.

        1. No, not contradicting his point, @socksolid. Only inverted agreement.

      3. Indeed. So how come Grosjean is making so many mistakes if F1 is as easy as he makes out?

    6. Although an Indian, I am not going to comment against Hamilton calling India a poor country. Reading his full statement, I can understand that it wasn’t the point he was looking to make.

      A big reason why he (and many other westerners) have that view of India is because of how western media wants to portray India. They always want to focus on the slums, elephants, poverty, bullock carts on roads, crowded Mumbai locals (think slumdog millionaire). By doing so, western media is painting a one-sided view of India and hence its viewers form such an opinion.

      However, I do disagree with Lewis on saying that F1 should only go to places with prior racing tradition. F1 is the most high profile racing series in the world and hence it has the power to create racing traditions in any country it wishes to. Other racing series and efforts by individual investors (Vijay Mallya) have lesser chance of success. Hence, as the most high profile racing series in the world, it is F1’s responsibility to go create such racing traditions in other countries and not just live off of existing racing traditions. Else, how will the sport grow?

      1. Fellow Indian here, just want to say that’s a very nicely articulated comment.

        Although an Indian, I am not going to comment against Hamilton calling India a poor country. Reading his full statement, I can understand that it wasn’t the point he was looking to make.

        Huge +1 to that. Lewis has sometimes stumbled in making statements of a societal nature, but this is not one.

        That said, Lewis is doing nothing but just calling out the very apparent divide between the upper and lower strata of society in my country, something that we Indians have been able to turn a blind eye to (not maliciously, but just as a way of easily quelling the guilt).

        If only this ire by my fellow citizens could be directed (and sustained) in a more productive directions (e.g. farmer suicides), then it would automatically uplift the country. But hey, it’s easier to point fingers at outsiders than to look inwards.

      2. Wholeheartedly agree on your point about F1 (both Liberty and the FIA) having a responsibility to build up motorsport / single seater racing and having a GP in countries to spearhead such development makes huge sense @Sumedh.

        Sadly the whole management of F1/Motorsport in India also seems to suffer from infighting between serveral groups / families /factions who whant THEIR plans and people to be involved. Well and the GP was killed off by tax regulations off course.

        1. the GP was killed off by tax regulations off course.

          @bascb – Please, call it for what it was – governmental greed. Our government saw it as a golden goose, and killed it. They wanted to levy an entertainment tax on the F1 race (a higher tax rate), instead of a sport tax (much lower). That was an unfortunate period when the government started wielding tax laws in unusual ways – apart from the Indian F1 GP, Vodafone and Nokia got a taste of it as well.

          1. yes, that is quite accurate @phylyp. And a real shame for India IMO – not just because of the race.

      3. It wouldn’t be so bad, but India does have some racing traditions. These are largely in the region around Chennai. Had the Indian Grand Prix been based there, I think there’s a good chance it would still be on the calendar, and nobody would be talking about a lack of racing tradition there.

    7. I think hamilton was making a few points. F1 should have more races in countries where there is a racing history. Not the threat of those countries losing their races. Especially where there are hige turn outs. Feed the fans! In contrast f1 is going to countries where there is no or very little interest in the sport. The stands are empty. Some countries are poverty stricken yet there they are racing around in their billion dollar cars… Its almost embarrasing…no offense to the countries themselves.

    8. These are the fastest Formula ever produced. They deliver higher lateral G:s than ever before.
      The cars put down more HP to the road than ever using this rubber no-one likes

      And the drivers are coasting half the time, not even approaching their physical limits.
      They complain that the driving is too easy.

      Obviously speed =/= great racing then

    9. Maybe they can erect some statues for Lewis and align them with midsummer and midwinter solstice.

      Stevenage will be on the map for at least 5000 years ;)

      1. I would imagine you are well versed in erections when it comes to Hamilton given your constant obsession with him.

        1. I can imagine your jealousy, @riptide, and good on you for coming out.
          But unfortunately for you, I do not have any such experiences (with Hamilton or others) and you will have to feed your fantasies :P

          1. Hi Coldfly – But you were called on “obsession”, not “experiences”… lol.

    10. Seriously? Hamilton is now criticised for simply stating a fact? For sure, you can argue that the race is good for the country’s economy and that ‘traditional venues’ were once not traditional at all. Those would be valid points. But you cannot deny that India is a poor country without any significant racing history. It does not mean that the country is evil or that it does not have a lot of wonderful people (it does!). My own country also used to be poor, taken over by organized crime and corruption. Things have become a lot better since then and the same can happen to India. When should India get its GP back and how can F1 help India develop? These are the questions that should be asked here.

      1. @girts – Good comment.

        As an Indian, I can tell you that several Indians are unduly proud of our country (as in jingoistic), are blinkered to its faults and shortcomings, and therefore take offence easily (particularly if it is a foreigner, bonus points if its a Brit). Some of the responses in Keith’s screenshot are amusing – quoting the number of Mercs sold, for instance.

        When should India get its GP back and how can F1 help India develop?

        The GP is unlikely to return to Buddh in the near term. Apart from the obvious tax wrangles, there is also the problem that the part of India where the circuit is present has been suffering from increasingly worse air pollution, especially in the winter starting from October. It is so bad that the country’s highest court is also stepping in to bring about measures to improve it. (Not that air quality was stellar when the GP ran, as anyone would recall from the murky shots down the start-finish straight).

        In such a situation, it is highly unlikely that anyone will consider bringing racecars in there, as there will be no easier a target for critics than 20 cars that burn 100 kg of petrol in less than 2 hours :-)

        (On the other hand, there’s an idea for @hazelsouthwell – why not get FE into Delhi or Mumbai?)

    11. Formula One chiefs have admitted for the first time that they are “concerned” that an activist who protested against the Bahrain Grand Prix on Facebook was jailed for three years by the country’s authorities.

      As they bloody well should be.
      As I said above holding these big sporting events in place like these and allowing them to act in such a way only rewards their bad behavior. I do not expect Liberty to become the moral police but mistreatment of women or ethnic/religious groups or people with a political point of view that differs from others by governments needs to be called out and not rewarded.
      Just to put that into some perspective for some of you, Hamilton would not have been allowed to race in the South African GP in the 70s.
      There are plenty of countries with racing faculties around the world that could potentially accommodate a F1 GP that do not operate under draconian laws and or/are basically dictatorships.

    12. A slight error in the Motorsport Week-notebook:
      ”as there is only one drive left for 2019 (Williams 2)” – Not quite correct. It’s actually three. One unconfirmed drive at RPFI, Williams, as well as, STR.

      I’ve got nothing against either Crofty nor Brundle, but still, I don’t really like this development that they’re going to be the narrators of the next official F1 season review instead of Ben Edwards, who’s been doing that since the early-2000s (around 2002-2003.) His voice is simply the perfect one for that purpose, so I wish he’d remain as the narrator of the season reviews.

    13. A two-hour F1 season review featuring Crofty and Brundle? They basically just made a compilation of all the race highlights available on the F1 YouTube channel, which usually tend to be 4-6 minutes long. If this really is the case, I think it’s disgusting what they have done. I prefer watching season reviews that go more in-depth for each race (and between races), and I always enjoyed Ben Edward’s commentary.

      1. I didn’t think of that, but think you are spot on!

      2. Hi Mashiat – Quite agree.

      3. You are absolutely right in what you say. Lets hope it only lasts for the one broadcast and normal service resumes again.

    14. Well done Spain! If only the UK was so keen to further its racing heritage. The way things are going the British GP is likely to be replaced by a “Fan Event”. Perhaps a few burnouts around Stevenage Leisure Park, and a bit of bother outside Nandos?

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