Baku chief explains Azerbaijani Grand Prix name switch

Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The European Grand Prix has had its title dropped for its 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix, renaming it the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The 2016 European Grand Prix marked the first time Azerbaijan hosted a Grand Prix around the Baku City Circuit, and this marked the return of the European Grand Prix on the calendar, after it was dropped for the 2013 season, where it was last held around the streets of Valencia in Spain.

When the FIA announced the dates for next season, the race was listed as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, after several months of speculation for the name change. Executive Director Arif Rahimov explained the reasoning behind the name change, with the organisers now believing that now is the right time for the rename.

“For our inaugural event, we wanted to position our country as a part of Europe,” said Rahimov. “Our race as a European one and also to showcase our European mentality to the world and demonstrate our country’s openness to foreign visitors who can easily visit and find comfort here.”

“We now feel it is the right time to rename our race to the ‘Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix’. After last summer’s race, many F1 fans discovered that our society is closely linked to the European mentality but now we feel it is the right time to draw attention to the fact that the 2017 race is also set in Azerbaijan and will be named thereafter accordingly.”