Spain, Spa, France, Canada and Russia – race rumours

Valencia will not be on next year’s F1 calendar, Bernie Ecclestone said on Saturday. He confirmed that, starting in 2013, an annually alternating deal between the Spanish port city and Barcelona will begin.

Barcelona, the scene of this weekend’s Spanish grand prix, will host the race in 2013, before Valencia returns to the schedule in 2014, the F1 chief executive told Reuters.

Less secure, meanwhile, is France’s touted spot on the 2013 calendar, particularly with the country’s new anti-F1 president Francois Hollande now taking power. Until recently, the F1 chief executive was saying Paul Ricard was set to join the 2013 calendar, annually alternating a race date with Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps.

As for the state of the deal now, the 81-year-old admitted: “I have no idea. No idea what they (France) are doing.

“It’s a funny arrangement they were making anyway. So I just don’t know.”

Ecclestone is also working on a new deal for the popular Canadian grand prix, having told promoter Francois Dumontier that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve needs to be upgraded.

“There are two ways of looking at it,” Dumontier, in the paddock of the Circuit de Catalunya, is quoted by La Presse newspaper. “Either Bernie requires an annual fee windfall, or he will charge a reasonable fee and ask in return for investment in the infrastructure.”

He said the contract on the table is for 10 more years, taking Montreal’s existing deal through 2024.

Ecclestone said on Saturday that he is sure an agreement will be reached, because Canada is one of F1’s most loved destinations.

“I remember saying to Bernie, ‘New York, Austin, I don’t know why you want to go there. Your sure bet is Montreal’. He knows that. He’s been in Montreal for 34 years. And in the 22 years of the grands prix in the United States, they’ve had eight different cities.

“He said ‘You’re right’,” added Dumontier.

Another rumour, repeated by The Times’ Kevin Eason on Saturday, is that the planned 2014 Russian grand prix in Sochi “is doomed”.