JANUARY 22, 2016
Baku denies oil crisis to halt Azerbaijan GP
Organisers of the inaugural grand prix in Azerbaijan have hit back at reports that the June race is in doubt.
Reports have suggested that due to the tumbling price of oil, local officials are coming under pressure to scrap expensive events like the street race in Baku.
But Formula One Management (FOM) on Thursday released race start times for the 2016 season, confirming a 'twilight' green light at 6pm for the Azerbaijan race.
And the Baku City Circuit issued a statement to address media speculation that the oil and currency (Manat) problems have moved a cloud above the new European grand prix.
"The devaluation of the Manat will have no impact with regards to the staging of the first ever formula one race in Azerbaijan," it reads.
"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," the Baku race organisers added.
The statement admitted to some "concerns" about the oil and currency situation, but explained that the "overall economic impact" of hosting F1 is still worth the cost.