Valencia will be the host of the 2008 European Grand Prix after Bernie Ecclestone officially put pen to paper on a deal to ensure two Formula 1 races will take place in Spain next season.

Although a preliminary deal was announced last month, only now has it been confirmed, the race being held on a designated street circuit around the popular Spanish resort, with the seafront expected to be the centrepiece.

Having extended an agreement to keep the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya until 2016, Ecclestone claims the Valencia deal will be good for seven years starting from 2008, gaining European Grand Prix status, the first time the race has been held away from the Nurburgring since 1997.

"The agreement was signed this morning along exactly the same lines as we announced last month," he told Reuters. "The agreement is for seven years."

Signed in agreement with the Valmor Sport group, headed by former Moto GP rider Jorge Martinez Aspar and Villarreal football club president Fernando Roig, the decision to have Spain host two grands prix from 2008 has been motivated by the huge surge in popularity since Fernando Alonso claimed the 2005 and 2006 Formula 1 World Championship.

Nonetheless, the initial announcement caused a political storm in the region with Ecclestone being reported as only making a race possible if Conservative presidential candidate Francisco Camps was re-elected in the region. Although Camps was indeed re-elected last month, Ecclestone denied this was a condition of the contract.



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