Baku denies F1 race is under threat

The organisers of Azerbaijan’s inaugural grand prix have refuted speculation that a slump in oil price could force the country to postpone the event.

Earlier this week reports emerged suggesting that the race might not take place after oil and gas prices slumped resulting in the devaluation of Baku’s local currency, the Manat. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on gas and oil.

However organisers of the Baku City Circuit have been quick to refute this, adamant that the June 19th race will go ahead as planned.

“The devaluation of the manat will have no impact with regards to the staging of the first ever Formula One race in Azerbaijan,” the BCC said in a statement.

“When the budget for the Grand Prix of Europe was approved, it was initially calculated in US dollars. As a result, we are not expecting any changes to the current event budget.

“BCC shares the concerns of everyone at the current devaluation of our national currency. BCC also accepts that staging such a major event requires a significant financial outlay.

“However, we would once again stress that the overall economic impact, both short- and long-term, direct and indirect, created by staging an F1 race will be of huge benefit to the national economy.

“The impact of increased tourism and direct visitor spending that will be injected into Baku area business establishments such as restaurants, bars, hotels and retailers will see millions, if not more, pumped into the economy.”

Meanwhile organisers have confirmed that the race will be a twilight race with a 6pm local start time.

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