Government gives go-ahead for 2021 Spanish GP
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – August 16, 2020 Winner Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium. [Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon]

The government of Catalonia has given the go-ahead for Spanish Grand Prix organisers to agree a contract extension with Formula One for 2021.

The May 9 race at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya is listed as subject to contract on the sport’s record 23-round provisional calendar.

The regional government said in a statement it had authorised Circuits de Catalunya SL to sign the renewal.

“The signature guarantees the celebration of the 31st consecutive edition of this event at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya,” it said.

“The F1 Grand Prix is ??an asset that contributes to Catalonia’s position in the world in the fields of tourism and automotive.”

The circuit agreed last year an extension to cover this year’s race, which was held in August and without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after fears it would drop off the calendar.

Government gives go-ahead for 2021 Spanish GP
Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) stands beside his car in the parc ferme after the qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 13, 2013, in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. [AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINI]

Spain will have two drivers on the starting grid next season, with Carlos Sainz moving from McLaren to Ferrari while double world champion Fernando Alonso makes a comeback after two years out.

Alonso has returned to Renault, the team that took him to his titles in 2005 and 2006 and which is changing name to compete under the French manufacturer’s Alpine sportscar brand.

The 2021 season is due to start in Australia on March 21, although how that unfolds will depend on the state of the pandemic.

There is also still a slot, vacated by Vietnam, to be filled on April 25. 

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