The historic Brazilian Grand Prix will remain on the F1 schedule for the rest of the decade after a new contract was signed between organisers and Bernie Ecclestone.
The future of the race had been called into question by Ecclestone last year amid stiff competition from other countries wishing to join the calendar and the quality of the facilities at the famed Interlagos circuit falling behind the standard of the other 18 host venues.
As part of the deal, officials for the Sao Paulo authorities have said $70 million will be spent on upgrades potentially including a new pit complex running along the current back straight as well as a complete resurfacing of the 2.8 mile track.
That work is set to be completed in time for next year’s edition of the Brazilian GP with this year marking only the second time Interlagos has not hosted the season finale in the last 10 years.
Another of the sport’s most respected races could be on a less certain path going forward, however as the promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal admits he is unsure about the sustainability of the race.
Much like Brazil, a passionate crowd is always a key part in what is usually one of the most unpredictable races of the season taking place on the close confines of the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit on the Il de-Notre Dame.
However after being dropped from the schedule in 2009, the current contract with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone expires after June’s race.
“Sixty days before the 2014 Grand Prix, there is an urgency,” Francois Dumontier was quoted by Autoweek.
“It is true, unfortunately, the sustainability of the Canadian Grand Prix is not yet assured.”
Dumontier reveals current talks with Ecclestone are for a new 10-year contract which was see the race through until 2024, however, it is negotiations with the various levels of government as well as Ecclestone that are making a new deal difficult.
With the promoter’s call for a deal to be done before this year’s race, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is confident such a deadline can be met.
“This [delay] is normal when it comes to events in which you sign for 10 years,” he said.
“I want there to be a Grand Prix, but you understand that it must be in a responsible way.”
With a second race in the USA as well as the likes of India wanting to return to the schedule, keeping the F1 calendar to what is an agreed limit of 20 races is far from easy, indeed heading into this season 23 Grand Prix’s were initially mentioned before New Delhi and Korea were dropped and New Jersey and Mexico postponed.
As has been the way for the last 15 years, the balance has been between maintaining the sport’s traditional races, with an already established fan base, and entering new markets in a bid to continue the growth of F1.
Interestingly the news of some of the sport’s established races having to develop or negotiate hard to remain a part of the schedule comes ahead of one of the F1′s biggest flops in many people’s eyes as the Chinese Grand Prix is set to mark its tenth anniversary next weekend in front of one of the smaller crowds seen during the year.
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