Formula One's plans for an unprecedented 22-race calendar are taking shape, with the Spanish Grand Prix confirming a one-year extension for 2020.
This year's race at the Circuit de Catalunya, located north of Barcelona, was at the time expected to be the last with the return of Zandvoort's Dutch Grand Prix being lined up to start the European season. However, circuit chiefs were confident of keeping the race for another year as it retained local government support.
That extension has now been confirmed, although the ordering of races remains unclear at this stage. Spain has been the venue for testing in recent years and has traditionally been the race to start the European leg of the season at the beginning of May.
F1 says the event has attracted half a million spectators over the past three years and generated 163 million Euros from the 2019 event.
F1 boss Chase Carey said: "The decision to continue to stage a round of the pinnacle of motor sport in Spain, a country with a great motor racing tradition, dating back to the start of the last century, is part of our strategy of maintaining Formula One's European roots, while also currently expanding the championship into new territories.
"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. In the coming months, we will continue our discussions to see if we can further extend this advantageous relationship."
With Spain sticking around, the returning Dutch race and Vietnam's maiden grand prix taking place, that will extend the calendar to 22 races. This year's thrilling, rain-affected German Grand Prix looks set to be the last in that country for the foreseeable future, with title sponsor Mercedes not willing to continue funding the event.
There were doubts about the future of races in Italy and Mexico, but both appear set to go ahead next year. Monza bosses have agreed to financial terms with F1 but a formal extension has yet to be announced -- it is likely that will take place ahead of the Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 8. The Mexican Grand Prix confirmed it had signed a new three-year deal at the start of August.
Silverstone has secured a new deal to continue as the host of the British Grand Prix for the next five years. Bobby Epstein, the head of the U.S. Grand Prix at Austin's Circuit of the Americas, recently told ESPN that he is confident of securing a new deal for his race in the near future, with the current contract expiring in 2021.