Fans of the Spanish grand prix have been told to not be alarmed by the recent comments of new Catalonian president Artur Mas.
On a visit to the formula one test at the Circuit de Catalunya last weekend, Mas said he was only able to guarantee that the 2011 race will take place.
But Salvador Servia, the new director of the track, has indicated to Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo newspaper that Mas’ comments were merely the trigger for negotiations.
Amid reports the current annual sanctioning fee of EUR 13 million is set to rise steadily until it has doubled by 2016, he said the current contract was negotiated by a different team.
“Many people were alarmed at the words of Artur Mas,” he acknowledged, “but they (the comments) were realistic in the current context.
“To me, the most important thing was that the president of the Generalitat was at our circuit not for a grand prix but for testing. This is a sign of commitment,” said Servia.
He said the 2012 race is also likely to take place at the Circuit de Catalunya, to be followed by a negotiation about the future.
“With the current context, by 2016 – the final year of the contract – we would have to pay an unaffordable amount,” explained Servia.
He acknowledged that the negotiations will be tough.
“It is not easy to negotiate with people who have a monopoly but we are in difficult times and Ecclestone knows that,” said Servia.
“We will do everything possible to keep the grand prix. Ecclestone, of course, will defend his business, but we have good arguments too.
“And he will also bear in mind many other factors apart from money,” he added.
© RIF | GMM