Azerbaijan extends presence on F1 calendar

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will remain part of the Formula One calendar until at least 2023 after organisers today (Tuesday) sealed a three-year extension to their race deal with the motor-racing championship.

The Baku City Circuit debuted on the F1 calendar in 2016 and had held a five-year contract which was due to expire following next year’s race.

Baku’s street circuit runs in part along the shoreline of the city’s historic centre, classified as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It has become renowned for its unpredictable races and for the last two years running has been voted as the best grand prix of the season in the annual survey run by the F1 Fan Voice community.

Azerbaijan’s Minister of Sport and Youth, Azad Rahimov, said: “The last few years have been a dream come true for the people of Baku as we have seen our race weekend grow from a simple idea into one of the most dramatic and exciting race weekends in F1’s history.

“Already, we have played host to some of the sport’s most iconic moments. Furthermore, every year we have seen more and more fans from all over the world attend the race and have been overwhelmed at how well our event has been embraced by the global Formula One community.

“This new agreement will allow our race to maximise its commercial revenues through increased fan-engagement activities and a brand new sponsorship approach to engage our local and regional businesses with Formula One’s global platform. With these exciting opportunities in mind, extending our contract was never in question and we are delighted to stay in this wonderful sport for another five years at least.”

Formula One chairman and chief executive, Chase Carey, added: “In just a short space of time, this race has become one of the most popular of the season, always producing closely fought and spectacular racing. The Republic of Azerbaijan provides a really excellent welcome to everyone in Formula One and the beautiful city of Baku is an amazing backdrop for the greatest motor racing show in the world.”

 The renewal is the first to be signed in 2019 and follows on from those for the Belgian, Chinese, German, Japanese and Singapore races, signed over the previous two years. Added to these is the Grand Prix of Vietnam, which will make its debut on the calendar in 2020.

Silverstone’s British Grand Prix is one of five circuits whose race contract expires following the 2019 season, along with Germany’s Hockenheim, Monza in Italy, Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya and Mexico City.