Baku denies F1 race is in doubt

Baku Grand Prix organisers have dismissed suggestions that the city's inaugural Formula 1 race is in doubt because of the collapse in oil prices.

Reports emerging on Thursday suggested that the country's financial woes – caused by the fall in oil prices and collapse of its currency (Manat) – could force a rethink about the money being spent on the race.

Azerbaijan is heavily dependent on oil and, amid a tough economic impact caused by the commodity's price drop, there have been suggestions the race could be under threat.

But Baku chiefs have moved quickly to dismiss claims of the event being in jeopardy, and insist that the June race will not be impacted by what happens to oil prices nor the country's currency.

"The devaluation of the Manat will have no impact with regards to the staging of the first ever Formula 1 race in Azerbaijan," said a spokesman for the Baku City Circuit (BCC).

"In fact, when the budget for the Grand Prix of Europe was approved, it was initially calculated in US dollars. As a result, we are not expecting any changes to the current event budget.

"BCC shares the concerns of everyone at the current devaluation of our national currency. BCC also accepts that staging such a major event requires a significant financial outlay.

"However, we would once again stress that the overall economic impact - both short and long term, direct and indirect - created by staging an F1 race will be of huge benefit to the national economy."

The spokesman added that rather than being a drain on the economy, the race would actually prove to deliver a boost.

"The impact of increased tourism and direct visitor spending that will be injected into Baku area business establishments such as restaurants, bars, hotels and retailers will see millions, if not more, pumped into the economy.

"Similarly, the hosting of the race itself will create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly linked to the event.

"We are confident that the staging of this race will not only play a major part in aiding the recovery in the short term but in driving the national economy forward for years to come, outweighing any existing concerns being levelled against the cost of staging it."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event European GP
Track Streets of Baku
Article type Breaking news