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Spain stays on F1 calendar

ReutersSPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (Reuters) — The Spanish Grand Prix will stay on the Formula One calendar in 2020, the sport’s commercial rights holders and race organizers said Tuesday, with the season set to expand to a record 22 races next year.

The Spanish race will continue to be held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, on the outskirts of the city, for the 30th straight year.

“The decision to continue to stage a round of the pinnacle of motor sport in Spain ... is part of our strategy of maintaining Formula One’s European roots, while also currently expanding the championship into new territories,” the sport’s chief executive Chase Carey said in a statement.

“The promoter’s willingness to be part of Formula One going into 2020 is proof of the sport’s ability to act as a catalyst for regions to hold world class events and also to have a positive impact on the area’s economy.”

The contract for the Spanish race ran out after this year’s event in May, when world champion Lewis Hamilton won for Mercedes.

That race was attended by 160,428 fans, according to a statement from race organizers.

Hosting the event generates €163 million ($181.65 million) of economic benefit, they added.

Quim Torra, president of the Government of Catalonia, said: “The Formula One Grand Prix ... is an important tool to stimulate the economic activity in the country in terms of tourism, as well as in the automobile and entertainment industry.

“Moreover, it gives us the opportunity to show the world the way Catalans are, how we work and what our country is like.”

Spain’s confirmation, which follows Mexico signing a fresh three-year deal earlier this month, paves the way for Formula One to expand beyond its current 21 races.

Germany is set to drop off the current 21-race schedule but a new race in Vietnam and a return to the Netherlands have already been announced.

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