Azerbaijan agrees new deal with Formula 1
By Mat Coch
Saturday 29th April, 2023 - 9:07pm
Azerbaijan will remain on the Formula 1 calendar for a further three years after organisers agreed a new deal with the sport’s commercial rights holder.
That will take the event through to at least 2026 with the new deal set to start from next season.
“The Baku City Circuit has become a hugely popular venue for Formula 1,” said F1 president and CE, Stefano Domenicali.
“It is an incredible circuit which always delivers huge drama, and has played host to some of the most exciting races in recent memory.
“We are delighted to extend our relationship with the country of Azerbaijan and look forward to continuing our growth together.”
Farid Gayibov, Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan, added: “We are thrilled to confirm our continued partnership with Formula 1.
“Ever since we first hosted this event in 2016, the economic, social, and cultural impact of the sport on our city and country has been remarkable.
“The Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix is a source of great pride for the whole country and will now continue to inspire and excite our fans for a further three years.”
Organisers in Baku this year boasted a sell-out crowd across the 6km circuit’s 12 grandstands.
Azerbaijan joined the Formula 1 calendar in 2017 with Daniel Ricciardo claiming the honours in its maiden race.
The years since have marked it out as a somewhat chaotic race with the ultra-fast front straight complemented by a series of slow, 90-degree corners.
The Baku City Circuit also features the narrowest section of track anywhere on the calendar; just 7.6 metres across as cars climb the hill around the old castle.
This year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix has seen the introduction of a new Sprint weekend format.
Teams and drivers had just a single 60-minute practice session on Friday before Qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Earlier today, the inaugural Sprint Shootout session determined the grid for the F1 Sprint, which follows later.
Both are independent of Sunday’s Grand Prix, though the F1 Sprint does carry points.
It’s a change designed to improve the spectacle of the weekend and give it added meaning.
However, the choice of venue has raised eyebrows with the Baku circuit notoriously unforgiving.
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