LONDON (Reuters) - Some of the European circuits due to host races without spectators on Formula One’s initial 2020 calendar have been given one-year contract extensions to compensate for lost revenues, it emerged on Friday.
Organisers of the Hungarian, Italian and Belgian Grands Prix, which stand to lose out on tickets sales, revealed new deals.
Formula One, whose season has yet to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced an eight-round schedule on Tuesday with the season starting in Austria on July 5.
Austria’s Red Bull Ring and Britain’s Silverstone will both have two races each with Hungary, Spain, Belgium and Italy hosting the remainder.
"We did our best during the discussions to get a good agreement both for the country and the sport even in these challenging times," Hungararing CEO Zsolt Gyulay told the www.hungaroring.hu website.
“We cannot say exact numbers, but (the) rights fee is a fragment of the one we pay in case of an open event. Furthermore, we have achieved an extension in our contract, so now it is valid until 2027 instead of 2026.”
Hungary is set to be the third race of a shortened season on July 19, after Austria’s two.
Gyulay said the annual increase of the rights fee had also been reduced.
The Hungarian Grand Prix has been held every year since 1986 and, with the Monaco showcase cancelled for 2020, will boast the second longest uninterrupted run after Monza.
Vanessa Maes, CEO of Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps race, said this year’s event would be organised outside of the regular promoter contract, which had been extended to 2022.
"This new model will allow the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit... to somewhat mitigate the financial effects of this historic crisis," she told the www.spa-francorchamps.be website.
The Italian Automobile Club (ACI) said Monza’s contract had been extended to 2025.
“We’re not in the business of financially supporting a promoter who’s in trouble, but we are in the business of having good partnerships for the long term,” Formula One’s managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn told racefans.net.
“In some cases some circuits have extended their contract by a year because they’ve lost this year. That gives them that stability.
“We’ve been fairly realistic I think in the approach we’re taking. The main focus is ‘how can we make sure you’re here in the future’?”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond
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