Valencia chief bullish on Formula One future

The managing director of the local promotion company in charge of Valencia's Formula One race has defended the Spanish city's place on the Formula One calendar.

The managing director of the local promotion company in charge of Valencia's Formula One race has defended the Spanish city's place on the Formula One calendar, as speculation persists about the future of the European Grand Prix.

In an interview with SportsPro and the 2012 Formula One Black Book, to be published in April, Facundo García de la Cuadra, managing director of Valmor Sports, called the doubts over the long-term future of the race a “ridiculous story from the very first year”.

He said: “We want Formula One forever. Of course the worldwide economic situation is critical but it will not [last too] long – I hope. Valencia Formula One will need a little more time to grow up under these negative economic conditions, but we are just four years old. We have a long Formula One life to live.

“We want Formula One forever. Of course the worldwide economic situation is critical but it will not [last too] long – I hope.”

“Formula One must be seen as a global event. At this point it has been successful. As promoters this is a long term investment.”

It is understood, however, that Valmor Sports, which has run the event since it made its debut on the Formula One calendar in 2008, is in the process of being sold. The organisation of the street race, around the site of the 2007 America's Cup port, will ultimately come under the overall control of the nearby Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, which regularly hosts Formula One testing and an annual MotoGP race.

Although a crowd of 83,443 attended last year's Grand Prix in June, the financial viability of Valencia staging a race each year has been questioned with suggestions that Valmor Sports is looking to renegotiate the financial terms of its deal with Formula One Management, originally signed for seven years in 2007.

García de la Cuadra did little to dispel the much-mooted possibility of Valencia staging a Grand Prix with the Circuit de Catalunya, the current host of the Spanish Grand Prix and a venue currently examining the viability of its own Formula One race contract.

“That's something we have been talking about in the last weeks,” he said. “We will see, that's all I can say at the moment.”

He added: “We have a great relationship with Montmelo [the area where the Circuit de Catalunya is located]. They are very professional people. They are a permanent circuit out of the city. We are a street circuit.  We have different philosophies of working due to we are different concepts. That´s why we are complementary to each other.”

“Formula One must be seen as a global event. At this point it has been successful. As promoters this is a long term investment.”

García de la Cuadra said that the economic benefit of Valencia staging a Grand Prix has reached over €240 million over the first four years. He also praised praised the local and regional governments for their efforts in establishing the event. “They really have understood how important Formula One is for the economic and promotional development of our city and region,” he said.

“They know the business is for the citizens and the prosperity of Comunidad Valenciana. The leaders, Alberto Fabra [president of the regional government] and Rita Barbera [Mayoress of Valencia] have changed our community  to one of the most successful not only in Spain but in Europe.

“As a street circuit,” he concluded, “the biggest challenge is to involve the city in the Grand Prix. We are on the right path. The second challenge is to consolidate the marina as a part of the venue and, in third place, to get the sponsors involved in the project.”

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