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Government not guaranteeing Spanish GP after 2011

Doubts have emerged about the future of the Spanish grand prix in Barcelona.

Artur Mas, the new president of the local Catalonian government, told El Pais newspaper that he can only guarantee that this year’s May race will take place.

“The continuity of the formula one race at this circuit is guaranteed this year and probably also for the next,” he said at the Circuit de Catalunya at the weekend.

“I hope it can be sustained for the future, but that will depend on the evolution of the economic situation and the results obtained in the next two years,” added Mas.

“The situation is what it is; I’m not here to fool anybody.  I know the value of hosting an F1 race and motor racing is a sector that drives the economy.

“I will do my best, but we cannot hide from the truth.  We need to reduce the budgets.”

It is believed the venue’s current F1 contract runs until 2016, with the EUR 13 million sanctioning fee this year to have doubled by then.

Mas told EFE news agency: “We are in a time of severe budgetary constraints and it’s going to affect everything a little bit.

“We need to move through these two difficult years and, if we recover, the contract we have for a few more years we will see in a bit of a better light.”