Formula 1 news - Government go-ahead for 2021 Spanish Grand Prix
The Spanish Grand Prix will go ahead for the 2021 season. The Catalonion government has given formal permission to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to negotiate and agree a deal to hold the event for another season.
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton leads after the start of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo near Barcelona, on August 16, 2020
Next year's Spanish Grand Prix is back on track after the regional government formally authorised the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to negotiate and sign the necessary contracts to continue hosting the event.
The race had already been included in the provisional 2021 Formula 1 schedule, subject to financial terms being agreed between the promoters and Formula 1 commercial owners Liberty Media.
“The Government has authorised the company Circuits de Catalunya SL to sign with the company Formula One World Championship Limited (FOWC) the renewal of the contract for the organisation of the Spanish F1 Grand Prix for the year 2021," a statement from the regional government confirmed.
“The signature guarantees the celebration of the 31st consecutive edition of this event at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya,” it added.
“The F1 Grand Prix is an asset that contributes to Catalonia’s position in the world in the fields of tourism and automotive."
The circuit still hopes to make changes to the layout in turns 10 and 11 in time for the next race on May 9.
This year's Spanish Grand Prix was a late addition to a heavily revised calendar after disruption due to the coronavirus epidemic prevented flyaway races, leaving F1 racing closer to home in Europe, Russia and the Middle East.
But there had been fears that the long-running event would then be dropped future seasons as F1 looks to expand into new territories such as Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.
Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll in the Spanish Grand Prix
Image credit: Getty Images
Next season will see two Spanish drivers on the grid, with Fernando Alonso returning to the newly-rebranded Alpine team and Carlos Sainz set to make his debut at Ferrari.
Ferrari has won at Barcelona on eight occasions, making them the most successful F1 team at the circuit. Five of those victories were claimed by Michael Schumacher, giving him the record for most race wins at one venue.
But Lewis Hamilton has won the last four raes here in a row, meaning that he is just one away from matching yet another Schumacher record after tying the German with seven championship in 2020.
The 2021 season is set to get underway in Melbourne, Australia on March 21 subject to COVID developments. There's still a vacant slot on the schedule with an event on April 25 still to be announced, but expected to be a return to Imola.
That would mean that the 2021 season will consist of 23 races, the longest in the championship's history.