Barcelona open to 2020 ’ghost races’
"The promoter’s source of income disappear"
Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya is prepared to host a grand prix this year without spectators - but has ruled out reversing the layout for a second race.
Hopes for the already postponed Spanish GP seemed to fade when finance minister Mario Jesus Montero said "tourist activities" will only resume in Spain if "there is a guarantee of extraordinarily safe conditions".
That would seem to rule out a Formula 1 race while the coronavirus crisis is ongoing.
But the Circuit de Catalunya is at least willing to discuss the matter with Liberty Media, who want to re-start the calendar in July with races held without spectators.
"We have discussed various scenarios with Formula 1," circuit boss Joan Fontsere told Soy Motor.
"One is that the season starts in the summer and the other is that it starts in September. We were asked that if the championship started in the summer, would we be willing to organise a grand prix behind closed doors.
"We answered yes," he revealed.
"As long as this would allow us to have a championship this year, it would allow us to then face the 2021 season in a more solid way than if we have nothing at all in 2020."
He said Barcelona would only need "two or three weeks" to organise the race, given that it is a permanent track and tickets would not need to be sold.
However, Fontsere said the financial side of the equation is more difficult.
"If the race is behind closed doors, the promoter’s source of income disappears," he said. "So the existing contract with Formula 1 would no longer be valid.
"We have not gone into details yet because we don’t know how this is all going to happen, but the conditions are obviously different.
"When you think of a government like the Generalitat de Catalunya investing, not having the people there has an impact economically."
Finally, Fontsere ruled out a proposal that second or perhaps even third races at European circuits could be run in reverse direction around the layout.
"At our circuit, that is impossible, as for us it is clearly a safety issue. There are in fact very few circuits that are designed for that, and we are not one of them," he said.
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