F1 Calendar News: April 2019 Round-Up

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There’s good news for the future of the Italian Grand Prix, bad news for the Spanish Grand Prix and, whilst the Dutch Grand Prix looks set to be added to the calendar next season, Liberty Media have their eye on plenty of other new destinations. Here’s a round-up of all the F1 calendar news from April!

Good news for the Italian Grand Prix

One of the positive calendar news stories in April concerned the future of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, which looks set to remain on the calendar until 2024. A statement on the F1 website confirmed that the Automobile Club of Italy (ACI) has reached an “agreement in principle” for a new five-year deal to host the event. The deal is yet to be signed, but both F1 and the ACI hope for a formal signature “as soon as possible”. RaceFans report that the circuit will pay $7 million less to host the race under the new deal.

The Italian Grand Prix has appeared on the F1 calendar in all 70 seasons, with the 1980 race the only one not to be held at Monza, due to circuit renovations. At the beginning of April, it was reported that the circuit once again requires €60 million worth of “urgent” renovations, which it is hoped the Italian government will pay for. Motorsport Week reported that such funding was vital to the circuit remaining on the calendar.

British Grand Prix rumours

At the end of the month it was reported by multiple sources, including Joe Saward and Mark Hughes, that the British Grand Prix had secured a deal to remain on the F1 calendar for the next three seasons. The claims were quickly denied by Silverstone, who commented that talks about the future of the event were “still progressing”.

In his blog, Saward cites “normally impeccable sources” on his decision to run the story, and also alludes to a London Grand Prix joining the calendar from 2021 – a potential stumbling block in contract negotiations with Silverstone.

While news of a new contract may be premature, things are certainly looking brighter for Silverstone’s F1 future. Auto Motor und Sport claims that the new deal will be signed this month. In the same article, the publication says that, after the relatively muted celebrations for the 1000th World Championship event at the Chinese Grand Prix, the 2020 British Grand Prix will mark Formula 1’s 70th anniversary, with a range of special celebrations, events and historic cars on display over the race weekend.

Dutch Grand Prix in, Spain out

The 29th visit to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix this month looks likely to be the last, with the event set to be replaced by the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort for 2020. Momentum has been growing in recent months concerning the return of the Dutch track to the calendar and it now appears to be a matter of when, not if, the race will be formally confirmed. Sean Bratches reportedly told Dutch commentator Olav Mol that they “have a deal”.

A busy start to 2020

According to Motorsport, Chase Carey met with team bosses at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to discuss the congested start to the 2020 season. If the calendar remains as it is, the schedule will see teams move from Australia to Bahrain, China and Vietnam, before going on to Azerbaijan. The sport would then head to Zandvoort for the first round of the traditional European summer season.

It is understood, however, that Azerbaijan organisers – who signed a new five-year deal in March – are keen to return to a June slot on the calendar. Such a move is complicated by Baku hosting matches in the Euro 2020 football championships in June 2020.

New location for Miami Grand Prix?

Following on from March’s news of an important vote on the Miami Grand Prix, it was revealed in April that the vote had been delayed once again, leaving the prospect of a race on the proposed track in 2020 looking even more in doubt. A new vote will take place on May 23. Later in the month, it became apparent that promoters have switched their focus to holding a race away from the Bayside area and closer to the Hard Rock Stadium.

A return for Malaysia, and other new races

The prospect of Malaysia returning to the calendar has picked up steam, with organisers eyeing a 2022 return. The Sepang International Circuit last hosted a race in 2017, when the sport’s 19-race association with the circuit ended. Meanwhile, a number of new destinations are being lined up for future races. Sean Bratches is said to be “highly interested” in a street race in Beijing, and adding a second round of the championship in China. It’s worth reading Joe Saward’s blog post from earlier in April, where he lists South Africa as a likely destination for 2021, Rio or Argentina as a new host for the Grand Prix in South America, and Saudi Arabia and Thailand as more potential venues in Asia.

Other news in brief:

  • A virtual lap of the new Vietnam Grand Prix track has been revealed. Though no date has been confirmed, select tickets are already on sale.
  • Attendance at April’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix was slightly down on the 2018 figure, with the lack of a Friday concert and the late cancellation of the Sam Smith concert being cited as reasons for this. International visitors accounted for 22% of ticket sales – which is no surprise, given the fact that tickets for the event cost almost 60% of the average local monthly wage.
  • The new Silverstone Experience museum will open on July 9, just ahead of the 2019 British Grand Prix. The museum will be open over the race weekend, and fans can pre-book tickets to the exhibition.
  • At the beginning of April, it was reported that the German Grand Prix had sold 48,000 less tickets than it had at the same point last year.

Will you be sad to see the Spanish Grand Prix off the calendar? Where do you think F1 should stage a race next? Comment below!

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About the Author ()

Nicky Haldenby is a Formula One writer from Scarborough, England. Having grown up with F1 often on the TV on Sunday afternoons, Nicky has been following the sport avidly since 2006. After graduating from University in 2015 with a First Class degree in English Language and Literature, he founded his own F1 website and now regularly writes articles about both the sport's history and current affairs.

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