Formula 1: Valencia Set To Replace Catalunya as the Home of the Spanish GP

Craig ChristopherAnalyst IJune 29, 2011

Vencia Street Circuit - Pretty to look at, but dead boring.
Vencia Street Circuit - Pretty to look at, but dead boring.Getty Images/Getty Images

With memories of an outstandingly boring 2011 European Grand Prix in Valencia still fresh in our minds, there is disturbing news coming out of Spain that the harbourside race could replace Catalunya as the home of the Spanish Grand Prix until 2021.

With the 2012 season calendar currently sitting at 21 races yet the Concorde agreement guaranteeing a maximum of 20 races, something has to give.

And two races in Spain looks to be the easiest place to target in order to drop a race. The European GP looks like it’s on the chopping block.

There’s not a lot of reason to get sentimental over the Catalunya track. It’s a great MotoGP track, but as far as F1 goes it has hardly set them world on fire.

But it’s better than Valencia, from which we’ve really only had Mark Webber’s aerobatics provide any measure of excitement. According to Wikipedia, Valencia had only ever seen four overtakes prior to this year and not a single pass in the 2009 race.

Of course, it’s Wikipedia, so you need to take that statement with a very large pinch of salt.

But all of this is interesting in light of Valencia’s request to be let out of their European GP contracts in November last year, until Bernie Ecclestone reminded them of what a contract is all about.

The Catalunya circuit is suffering from the same financial burden that most hosts on the calendar suffer from. The cost of hosting a grand prix continues to spiral upwards. It seems that everyone in F1 is being forced to tighten their belt except Formula One Management—Bernie’s company.

Unfortunately for Catalunya, Valencia and all of the other “traditional” hosts, there is a seemingly endless supply of potential hosts, desperate to get on the F1 train. Ecclestone has shown himself to be ruthless enough to cut races from the program should hosts complain too much.

Catalunya still has a great future as a test circuit and there is a strong move to retain that service but, as the annual fee to FOM will be in the order of €26M and that’s before the actual costs of holding the race, it’s easy to understand why they would want out.

But for the love of F1, don’t give the race to Valencia—please!