Baku Formula One promoter Arif Rahimov has dismissed speculation regarding the future of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar amid rumours suggesting it would make way for the incoming Miami Grand Prix. Last month Formula 1 confirmed plans for a second race in the U.S. with downtown Miami the location. Miami’s arrival onto next season’s calendar would make 2019 a 22-race season — the longest calendar the sport has seen.
This lead to speculation from various media outlets over the future of the Baku street race, which signed a ten-year contract in 2016, with five of those years binding. However, Rahimov has clarified the terms of its own contract: “I didn’t even discuss it with FOM because it just makes no sense. We have a contract that is a binding contract for five years, five races, starting in 2016. Neither of us can break it unless we both agree to break it. On the other side, if Miami comes in, it can just come in and all the other races can stay there. It’s up to 22 races anyway. I think it was just a rumour. I don’t know how this rumour got spread, because it made no sense from the beginning. I guess they’re going to release the draft calendar this month or next month. We’re going to be in this calendar and it’s going to sort out most of the questions.”
The deadline for Baku to trigger the break clause in its contract is at the end of this month. Arif Rahimov says he hopes to be able to negotiate fairer terms to host the race to put it in line with other grand prix on the calendar: “We haven’t triggered the break clause. We’re negotiating on the second part of the contract. We all know that we need to improve bits. We’re really trying hard to make sure it’s good for us and F1. Triggering the break clause… it’s not a risk. We might postpone the deadline for the negotiations. You can call it triggering a break clause too. Then you just say, OK, basically… it’s a letter. There’s no format of a letter. You can write a letter saying that you want to renegotiate and you want to do it later. We’re trying to get it sorted before the end of June. I think we’ll come to some agreement.” – the executive director of Baku City Circuit (BCC) concluded, as reported by ESPN earlier today.