Future of Valencia Grand Prix in doubt

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer

The future of the European Grand Prix in Valencia is in doubt after the city's government indicated that it wants to renegotiate its race fee.

Jose Ciscar, vice-president of the Generalitat Valenciana, said he was embarking on a "complete and thorough review" of the major events budget.

Valencia has a contract to host the race on a street circuit on the city's waterfront until 2014.

Ciscar does not rule out cancelling the race. "We do not discount anything."

He also said that he would be contacting F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to discuss the city's wishes.

The move makes Valencia, which is reputed to pay in the region of 25 million Euros (£20.6m) a year to host the grand prix, the second race to ask Ecclestone to reduce F1's fees.

Korea, which made its debut on the calendar in 2010, is also reconsidering the future of its race.

There are also doubts about two races on the 2012 calendar - Bahrain because of ongoing unrest in the Gulf state and the new US Grand Prix, on account of delays in building the track in Austin, Texas.

Valencia, which held its first race in 2008, is one of two races in Spain - the other is the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona.

Ecclestone is facing pressure to drop existing races as new events come on to the calendar in the forthcoming years. Teams are reluctant to go beyond the 20 races that are on the calendar in 2012.

A second US race in New Jersey, overlooking New York City, is scheduled for 2013, while Russia has a contract for a race in the Black Sea resort of Sochi from 2014.

And on Friday the French newspaper Le Figaro reported that the the French Grand Prix, which has not been on the calendar since 2008, would return in 2013external-link, alternating with the Belgian race at the historic Spa-Francorchamps track.

Ecclestone recently said that he expected the number of races in Europe to decrease from the current eight to five in the coming years.

Valencia is one of the least popular races on account of the drab circuit, which provides little challenge for the drivers and has so far created scant racing action.

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