The case for a second grand prix in Spain is growing stronger. The prospective site would be the Valencia circuit, the race track on Spain's Mediterranean coast that most of the F1 teams use for testing. The city of Valencia has recently undergone considerable renovations for hosting the America's Cup sailing regatta, particularly around the port area that has transformed the city into a Spanish Monaco. Now, city officials wonder what will happen after the America's Cup is over. Their ideal solution, it would seem, would be to secure a grand prix, but while the popularity of F1 in Spain has skyrocketed with Fernando Alonso's back-to-back world titles, Spain already has a race in Barcelona, leaving Valencia to fight several uphill battles to get their own.

Germany and Italy have both lost their second grands prix for next year, so the idea of Spain getting a second seems counter-intuitive. Overall, the number of races in Europe has been going down, with talk of even France and Britain having to possibly alternate seasons.

There'd be a couple of ways of making it work, though, and they're more than semantics. One possibility would be to make the Valencia race a Mediterranean Grand Prix, drawing in with the possibility of alternating with a site in North Africa, a region which hasn't hosted F1 racing for many years. Another door opens with the achievements of the Catalonian separatist movement which has been gaining autonomy. Catalonia encompasses Barcelona where the current Spanish Grand Prix is held, which, if it were to become the Catalonian Grand Prix, could leave the door open for Valencia to assume the mantle. The Valencia track doesn't have a lot of spectator seating, leaving race organizers to either put up temporary grandstands or potentially make the race an exclusive VIP-only venue.

Unlike other locations bidding for a race, the Valencia circuit is already built and up to F1 standards. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says it's far from a fait accompli, but it could be closer than we'd think.

[Source: GrandPrix.com]


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