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Marko backs Austrian GP as Valencia plots return
5 December 2012
Sebastian Vettel's suggestion that F1 ought to consider returning to Zeltweg has received the backing of Helmut Marko, although the Red Bull motorsport advisor admits that Europe is not the ideal venue for races at the moment.
Vettel made his comment after driving one of this year's triumphant RB8 cars from Graz to the circuit, now renamed the Red Bull Ring after the drinks company funded its refurbishment, and Marko admitted that the door would never be entirely closed to the possibility of staging an Austrian Grand Prix in future.
“With [Dietrich] Mateschitz, you can never say never,” he admitted in the wake of Red Bull's ongoing championship celebrations, "but, at the moment, the economy is healthiest in Asia and South America.
"There are sanctioning fees of around $20-30m that need to be paid, so one simply has to ask the question of where does this come from, but let's see how it develops. There are places like Korea, where the track is not great, that are not going to stay [on the calendar]."
That sentiment will no doubt reinforce the resolve of those trying to get the Valencia street circuit reinstated on the schedule, having seen the even axed in favour of New Jersey for 2013. When the second US race failed to make enough progress to be included on the latest calendar issued by the FIA, others have been mentioned as possible replacements – including France and Turkey – as the viability of running two races in Spain continues to be questioned.
Valencia, however, is still hoping to return to the schedule in 2014, amid renewed suggestions that it could alternate with regular Spanish GP host Barcelona. The Circuit de Catalunya appeared to backtrack on race-sharing talks earlier this year after funding was sourced from the city of Barcelona to help keep the venue as F1's first choice.
"It is a situation that is on the table," Valencia tourism minister Lola Johnson told
during the weekend's Ferrari World Finals at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, "It's a three way negotiation, with the bosses of F1 and the organisers of the two grands prix. The alternation is on the basis of the reorganisation of the contracts. The details are being worked on."
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