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Barcelona: We don't want to alternate

The Circuit de Catalunya has sent out the strongest message yet that it no longer wants to consider alternating hosting the Spanish GP with Valencia.
The Circuit de Catalunya has again played down suggestions that it should alternate the hosting of the Spanish Grand Prix with Valencia's street track.

The latter was axed from the schedule to make way for the second US race, to have taken place on the streets of New Jersey next June, but has not given up on returning to the calendar in future seasons, despite the cost of hosting a grand prix causing headaches since it first appeared.

The prospect of alternating with Barcelona was first proposed around the time of last year's Spanish Grand Prix, with both sides apparently interested in taking the matter further based on the model currently being used by Hockenheim and the Nurburgring to host the German round. However, when the Circuit de Catalunya landed a deal with the city council, which would provide it with €1m extra funding, it suddenly lost interest in sharing one of its prized assets.

"We have a contract to host the GP of Spain until 2016 and we want to keep it,” Vincente Aguilera, president of the Consortium of the Circuit de Catalunya, told El Mundo Deportivo during the signing ceremony, “Indeed, we are open to negotiating an extension until 2020."

In a separate interview with AS, Aguilera confirmed that Barcelona was determined to go it alone, and was not prepared to comment on suggestions that its rival had made a play to become the sole host of the Spanish round.

“We have no desire to alternate, [but] we cannot speak for Valencia, who have agreements with [Bernie] Ecclestone about which we have nothing to say,” he stressed.

"The circuit has a direct economic impact of more than €160m - we are an economic engine and any activities that we can do to best manage this Catalonian venue is positive.”

Council vice-president Díaz Fernández confirmed that the massive investment being made by the city was due to that wider economic impact.

"Circuit activity goes beyond the world of motoring,” he emphasized, “It has a continuing impact on year-round occupancy in the wider tourist resort, catering, hotel, etc.

“In this sense, this million is for us not an expense, but an investment. It serves to promote tourism in the province of Barcelona, and especially the brand new Costa Barcelona. The F1 and MotoGP events are emblems of this.”

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