Baku calls for revised F1 contract with June date

Arif Rahimov, promoter for the Baku Formula One Grand Prix in Azerbaijan, has revealed that he has opened talks about a revised contract with organisers of the motor-racing championship as he seeks to secure a return to a June slot on the calendar, lower hosting fees and greater commercial benefits.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Rahimov said the current deal, which began in 2016, is binding for five races but includes a break clause before a subsequent five events.

However, according to the Reuters news agency, this clause must be activated by the end of June this year, and Rahimov is yet to do so as he is keen to secure the best possible agreement for Baku with F1 owner Liberty Media.

Reuters said Baku currently pays more than $60m (€51.5m) due to an annual escalator clause, placing its hosting fees some way ahead of the average $30.6m. Hosts outside Europe are said to be paying $40m.

“We do definitely want to be there in the average of the flyaway races,” Rahimov said. “That’s not the only thing we’re discussing with Formula One Management. It’s most of the other commercial terms in the contract too.

“We haven’t triggered the break clause, we’re negotiating on the second part of the contract."

Rahimov is also keen for Baku to return to a June date. This year’s grand prix took place in April, whereas the 2016 and 2017 events were staged in June.

“If we are in April, then really we have to start in the winter and you have adverse weather, all the rains and winds that stops you from working effectively,” Rahimov said. “Ideally we would like to hold the race in June.”