Barcelona needs new deal to keep Spanish Grand Prix

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The director of the circuit that hosts the Spanish Grand Prix says the circuit’s owners are seeking to strike a new deal with Formula 1 management amid speculation that the race’s days are numbered.

Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit director Joan Fontserè tells The Associated Press that negotiations have been ongoing since regional government authorities met with Formula 1 Group CEO and Chairman Chase Carey in March.

“Since then we have been working with a team from (FI management) to identify their needs and ours,” Fontserè said on Friday.

The previous contract agreed to by ownership led by the government for Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region and former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone runs out this year. Attendance has also fallen from 140,000 spectators attending the 2007 Spanish Grand Prix to 90,000 last year.

Those factors have sparked rumours that another race could replace the Spanish Grand Prix. Media reports point to the possibility of F1 adding a Dutch Grand Prix to the calendar.

Fontserè denied that the owners had wanted to close the new deal before this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, “It is a deal that must be done well, not with haste.”

Sunday’s race is the 29th Spanish Grand Prix run at the track, where Michael Schumacher and Alain Proust are former winners. Previously, it had been held at Jerez in southern Spain and other sites.

Lewis Hamilton has won here three times, including the past two years, en route to claiming five world titles.

Preseason testing has also been held at the track for several years.

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