N after the GP Azerbaijan, rumors surfaced that the third edition of the Baku Grand Prix could also have been the last. Arif Rahimov, managing director of the Baku Grand Prix, cleared up the speculations: “We have a contract up to and including 2020. It can only be terminated with mutual consent. We have no intention of doing this. And I don't see any signs from Liberty that they no longer want our Grand Prix. ”
30 percent more spectators
The doubts about the future of the Azerbaijan GP had arisen after Liberty Media -President Greg Maffei made some derogatory remarks about the Caspian Sea race ahead of the season. Rahimov denies: “I think Liberty was very satisfied with our race.” The race director expects the first draft of the 2019 calendar next month. 'We'll be on it, and then the rumors will also fall silent.'
One point of criticism of the city race was the poor audience response. Rahimov contradicts: “We have more viewers every year. The rate of increase is 30 percent. This year 90,000 visitors came over three days. ”
The man from Baku admits, however, that his grandstand capacity is limited. There is a reason for this: “We want to place the spectators around the Formula 1 village so that people can buy fan articles there and take part in autograph sessions. If we set up a grandstand far away, the spectators will be nailed there. ”
GP Azerbaijan again this summer?
According to Rahimov, 7,000 came this yearForeign visitors to Baku. Together with the 2,500 people in the Formula 1 circus, all hotels were fully booked. “We don't bring more people into the city and we have had to use other accommodation options like Air BnB.”
Rahimov still has one request. He would like a different date for the Grand Prix: “We'd rather go back from April to June or July.” Perhaps there will be an opportunity in 2019, Rahimov thinks aloud. If Germany loses its Grand Prix, there would be a gap in the calendar in summer.