Valencia chief backs Spanish alternation scheme

Valencia race chief Gonzalo Gobert has confirmed moves are afoot to host the European grand prix street race only once every two years.

It emerged recently that the regional governments of Valencia and Catalonia have finally agreed that, amid Spain’s economic crisis, Bernie Ecclestone’s race alternating scheme is the best way forward. So when asked how the city of Valencia can imagine sustaining both F1 and MotoGP amid the economic crisis, Gobert told Marca newspaper: “The key is the alternation.

“The solution is alternation,” he repeated. “At present, having two F1 races in Spain in May and June makes no sense. The alternation will work perfectly because it means the country does not stop (hosting F1). It (F1) is a great promotional tool but, like everything, you have to rationalise it.”

Gobert admitted that the financial figures for Valencia’s recent grands prix are “not good”.

“On the other hand I think a formula one grand prix is not to make money. If someone manages that, give him the Nobel Prize for economics. It is an event of 500 million viewers and 187 countries that fills up restaurants and hotels. If you make money as well, you would have invented the wheel.

“Instead, you have to have a balance and so we are reducing the budget where we can,” he said.

The next step, he acknowledged, is to finalise the alternating scheme with F1 chief executive Ecclestone. Asked if he is seeking a reduced sanctioning fee, Gobert answered: “I understand that the negotiations will take into consideration everything to fit the current situation.

“But this is at the governmental level, even if I know that they are negotiating.”


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