Bulgaria is moving closer to securing a spot on the Formula 1 calendar, with officials rumoured to be preparing a firm bid by next week.
The Eastern European country is one of a number of nations looking to secure a spot on the schedule in the coming years, but while the building of a first international circuit is already being financed, a proposed second track is being earmarked for F1 hosting duties.
Currently, plans are in place for the country's first race circuit to host a round of the MotoGP motorcycle world championship in 2011, but it isn't intended to host F1 too. Nonetheless, should the country be shown the green light to host F1, possibly in 2011, then building work will start in April.
"We expect to have a result by next week," Bulgarian Motorcycling Federation head Bogdan Nikolov told national daily Dnevnik
. "Once we sign the contract for hosting an F1 event, we can build a second track.”
Despite the bold claims, however, Bulgaria's Motorsport Federation head Georgi Yankoulov played down the plans, saying he isn't sure at what point negotiations have reached.
"I know about these negotiations and until half-a-year ago I was part of them, but since then I haven't received any official information from FIA. However I can not imagine that FIA will take any commitment before the ground breaking ceremony for the track," he said.
"I am not against the idea but I have moderate expectations about it. The task is too complicated and difficult especially in the current situation of an economic crisis with sponsors are backing down.
"Formula One is not just about building a track. You need the proper infrastructure for it such as hotels, airport, good roads and service. The Black Sea town of Varna seems the most appropriate choice should Bulgaria gets to host F1.”
Formula 1 has become increasingly popular in Bulgaria recently, with two national broadcasters, bTV and TV7, showing live events simultaneously in 2009.
Should Bulgaria join the calendar, it will become the second Eastern European event alongside the Hungarian Grand Prix, held near the capital Budapest.