Fontserè has been the director of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 2015
The Generalitat has today agreed to dismiss him as head of the entity
Montmeló loses his negotiating team, since Aguilera already resigned in February
Joan Fontserè will cease to be the general director of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The Generalitat has agreed this Tuesday at its weekly government meeting to propose a replacement to the front of the Montmeló facility. The proposal has yet to be ratified by the Circuit’s board of directors, which will be pronounced this week.
The new management of the Circuit will fall to the president María Teixidor, former director of the F.C. Barcelona, and the general director José Luis Santamaría, vice-president of the Catalan Automobile Federation and employee until now of GT Sport, as well as a member of the circuit commission of the Spanish Automobile Federation.
Fontserè took over as director in June 2015, replacing rally driver Salvador Servià. During his tenure, Fontserè has seen the arrival of Liberty Media in Formula 1 in first person and has negotiated with President Vicenç Aguilera a renewal for the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons, and an extension for 2020 with the determination to tackle a long-term contract.
Fontserè’s withdrawal means that Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya loses the hard core in charge of negotiations with the queen category of motorsport, since Aguilera already left the presidency of the installation in February of this year. The future of the Spanish GP is uncertain beyond the event scheduled for this August 9.
Renewal is the great unknown. Montmeló is confident that Liberty Media will take into account the logistical effort involved in saving the 2020 event in a pandemic. Also that the declaration of the Grand Prize as of general interest allows opening a financing channel for the central government, which would complement the already existing investment of the Catalan public coffers.
Montmeló’s management was questioned in April 2019, when an audit revealed economic irregularities in terms of wages, contract awards and tickets. The Circuit defended its management and the same Fontserè appeared in September of that same year before a committee of the Parliament, where he argued that since his arrival in office he had undertaken a process of reforms, reviewing and correcting the irregularities found in the past.
While the Generalitat has a majority stake in the entity that governs the Circuit, the positions of direction of the route are closely linked to the Catalan government. In the case of Fontserè, the newspaper La Vanguardia has reported that the conflict between the two government partners, JxCAT and ERC, could be one of the causes that explain his dismissal. Fontserè is related to the first. The Ministry of Economy, which has proposed his dismissal, is managed by ERC.
To understand the situation, it is necessary to explain the complex shareholding structure of Circuits de Catalunya. On the part of the Catalan Executive, the Economy Department -ERC- controls the majority of actions, but it is the Business Department -JxCAT- which has a majority on the board of directors. Even so, the fact that today the Government has included this change in a government agreement suggests that the cessation may be undertaken. The remaining shares are in the hands of the RACC and the Montmeló City Council.
As revealed by El País, the manager of the Circuit is in an inpasse: the Department of Economy -ERC- has blocked the approval of the accounts and is waiting for an auditor to analyze more documentation to solve the case. Without the approved accounts, the manager does not receive contributions from the City Council or the Barcelona Provincial Council and faces more losses.
Accounts are a common problem in circuits that depend on public capital to host Formula 1, due to the balances that the management and uniqueness of the event implies with the procedures of public entities. In fact, the Circuit itself was able to finish its pit building on time in 1991 because an extraordinary letter was signed without the knowledge of the Generalitat. The irregularities investigated since 2019 do not necessarily entail negligence in management, although they do highlight the difficult fit of this sector. The clash between the needs of Formula 1 and public management was especially evident in the award and development of the European GP at the Valencia Street Circuit.
The evident complications that this news entails for the renewal of the Spanish GP is at the same time an important turbulence for the normal operation of the facilities, which currently have a staff and a budget that would be unsustainable if it disappears from the Formula calendar. one.
If you want to read more news like this visit our Flipboard