RACE DEBRIEF

    It’s become one of the highlights of the F1 calendar, producing some of the best races in recent memory – and now it’s been confirmed that there’ll be more to come, following the announcement that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be part of the F1 calendar until at least 2023, following an agreement reached with Baku City Circuit.

    The agreement was signed in Baku by the Azerbaijan Minister of Sport and Youth, Azad Rahimov, and the Chairman and CEO of Formula 1, Chase Carey, during the 2019 Conference on Benefits of Hosting Major Sports Events, organised by Baku City Circuit.

    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.

    Chase Carey and Azad Rahimov.jpg
    The agreement was signed in Baku by the Azerbaijan Minister of Sport and Youth, Azad Rahimov (right) and the Chairman and CEO of Formula 1, Chase Carey (left)

    Baku first hosted F1 in 2016, with its street circuit running in part along the shoreline of the city’s historic centre, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It soon grabbed the attention of fans, and for the last two years running has been voted as the best race of the season in the annual survey run by the F1 Fan Voice community.

    “We are very pleased to have renewed this agreement which will see the Azerbaijan Grand Prix feature on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar for many years to come,” said Chase Carey. “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 1 and the beautiful city of Baku is an amazing backdrop for the greatest motor racing show in the world.”

    “This is a truly proud day for all of us,” Azad Rahimov. “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 1 community.

    “I would also like to extend my special gratitude to Mr. Carey and everyone at Formula 1 for proving themselves to be such great friends to our race. 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 1’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.”