The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will celebrate its 30th anniversary this Friday and its most important gift is on the way: the renewal of its contracts to continue hosting F1 and MotoGP events. Both contractual links expired this year, and after a lot of work, and as MD has learned, everything is on track so that the signatures on long-term contracts of 5 years with both contests will be stamped shortly. The renovations are in a process of reviewing the last fringes. And after that, it will be time for an announcement that will go hand in hand with both championships.
“Since we did the Spanish GP of F1 2021, we have been talking with F1 and with its presidency for some time with the idea of working in the long term. It is well advanced and there is less and less to be able to communicate how we will be in the coming years with F1 ”, Josep Lluís Santamaría told MD, in a recent conversation with MD when asked about his visit to the last British GP, in which he held talks with F1.
“5 years? Well… it could be a good number (laughs) “He commented when asked if the renewal with F1 would be for 5 courses, as he wanted the track from the beginning. “Is that if I give you a candy and then it is more or less years, you will tell me something “, he answered jokingly. “We have worked so that it is not a contract of only one year, because this is a very great wear and tear for the entire structure, and what we want is that with this continuity we can develop the infrastructure and adapt it to the new realities and needs of all championships to come “, Josep Lluís Santamaría clarified, referring equally to the contracts with Dorna for the Motorcycle World Championship and with Liberty for the ‘Great Circus’.
“With the MotoGP contract it is the same. It was ending this year, like F1, and the news will come out in parallel, that of cars and motorcycles at the same time. The renewal will be long term. If you put 5 years, are you wrong? You will not go far wrong. There is always a security percentage, but I think you are doing well ”, he pointed out to this newspaper.
When will the news be released?
“We are waiting to review the latest details of the contracts and also waiting for the calendar, because this year everything is going later than usual because no calendars have yet come out and the F1 and MotoGP calendars are still being updated. 2021. Their priority is the 2021 calendars and then they will work on those of 2022. But I think it will not take long for dates, news and calendars for 2022 to come out. But yes, it is about to fall “, said the leader of the Catalan track, although without wanting to give by fact entirely its continuity, yes letting it glimpse with great optimism: “Everything is very well under way. We always have to be careful and never take it for granted, since we like to take things for granted when they are really done at all ”.
Josep Mateu, president of the RACC
“The renovation is on track”
For his part, the president of the RACC, Josep Mateu, also showed his optimism to MD regarding the future signing of the renewal with F1 and MotoGP. “Both the public and private parties have agreed that we cannot let this escape through the country and the territory. Everything is quite advanced so that we can carry out the renovations. It’s focused. ”
In this sense, the president of the RACC did emphasize that, after achieving the renewal, they should put their efforts in “getting the State to get more involved, especially in F1, than it has been doing so far.” We are talking about the Spanish GP. If we get him to get involved, we can have these GPs for many years in such a competitive world, something that would be a privilege ”, he added to this newspaper.
“Of all the impact of F1 on the territory, there is a part of the taxes that goes to the State, and we want this very important part to also revert to the Circuit because we have to renew and improve it, and this involves investments. a couple of years we resurfaced the track, we have to renovate the paddock and we have to readapt it in terms of technology “, concluded the president of the RACC.
Grand Prix “most present” in the city
The last time MD he asked Josep Lluís Santamaría for the renewal of the F1 and MotoGP, It was in the last Spanish F1 GP, on May 9. At the time, the layout was pending the formation of a Government in Catalonia and after that, in July the Minister of Business and Labor of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Roger Torrent, as the new president of the Circuit, someone who according to Sanatmaría was key with his help and vision of the situation.
“The president is the Councilor Torrent, and relations with the department and the Councilor are very good. We have worked a lot. He is helping a lot and with a lot of interest so that all this moves forward and for the future. Also with the Barcelona City Council, and one of the things we have already discussed with Barcelona is to explain that both MotoGP and F1 want the city of Barcelona to experience these Grand Prix. It is one of the things in which we will have to work hard to make it a novelty in 2022 and to be present again in this F1 and MotoGP environment in the city ”, commented Santamaría.
Barcelona could host half of the test
Josep Lluís Santamaría could not pronounce so clearly when talking about the F1 preseason tests, since as the director of the Montmeló track recalled well, the tests are part of a contract that depends on the teams, which have not yet have been decided.
“The tests are an issue that is not associated with the F1 contract. It is a different contract and it is an issue that the teams manage directly, “he told MD.
“Yes, there are rumors that there will be two areas in which training will be held, one could be Barcelona and the other, in Bahrain, and that the test days would be divided. But it remains to be seen. The teams have yet to meet and they have to finish deciding. But in principle it seems that this situation could arise that we would have the tests again here, “he commented. And in this field, he believes that if Bahrain were to host the start of the F1 2021 championship again, the most logical thing would be for Barcelona to have the first week of testing and for the second to be at the Sakhir track.
“I suppose that if the calendar is like this year, that they start in Bahrain, the normal thing would be to do a first test here and for the second to be in Bahrain because the entire structure would already be displaced there. But we still do not have news of moderately reliable calendars for 2022. Last year we had the tests and with the calendar changes that occurred at the end (due to the pandemic), we did not have them. Until the first car starts or the first truck arrives here, you never know, ”he added.
Renovation of facilities
As Josep Lluís Santamaría already pointed out in May, the renewal of the contract with F1 will also imply a clear commitment and commitment to updating its facilities to adapt to the new needs of the championships. Again, he touched on this topic in his talk with MD, assuring that the news on the track will not all come at once.
“There will be things that will be next year and others in 2023 and 2024, but we do have already done a planning that was already done previously by the Circuit to update the infrastructure, and we have to renew technology, we have to make sure that the Circuit has the best services so that the best championships, best companies and that the tests can be done here, not only at the competition level but only at the brand level. Make it a laboratory, a ‘showroom’ of the best technology. It has to be done and you can’t do everything at once, ”said the Circuit director.
“There will be security changes marked by changes in regulations, such as security updates on the pit lane wall. adapting it to the new regulations or changes in runway marking, based on new signaling technologies through light panels. That does not mean that we will stop using the traditional flag signaling system, but that it will be something doubled and that F1 already uses. And championships like MotoGP also ask for it. And when it comes to managing the track, the update is also a very good thing because this system is more effective to control the entire track than just a distribution of officials. It will help us in the day-to-day management of the Circuit ”, he concluded.