Azerbaijan will continue to host the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix until at least 2023.
On 5 February, Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov and Formula One Group CEO Chase Carey signed an agreement extending the current contract set to expire in 2020 by three more years.
According to Russian newspaper Kommersant, Baku will pay some $60 million to host the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2019 – twice as much as the average $30.7m other promoters are estimated to spend.
Back in April 2018, the director of the company organizing the Azerbaijani Grand Prix, Arif Rahimov, the son of the Minister of Youth and Sports, had hoped to decrease hosting fees, realizing that “we are paying more than we probably should.”
With hosting fees usually increasing by 5% every year, the costs associated with holding the Grand Prix are expected to grow in the future.
The Formula 1 debuted in Azerbaijan in 2016. It is supposed to polish the country’s international reputation, boost the local economy and attract more tourists. Critics, however, have dubbed it a lavish vanity project that comes at the expense of the Azerbaijani public and fuels corruption.
In 2016, Meydan TV published an interactive guide along the Baku City Circuit to shed light on the stories hidden behind the Formula 1.