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Ecclestone reveals 'talks' to return F1 to Argentina

23 May 2009

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that discussions are taking place with a view to reviving the Argentine Grand Prix – a race that has been held on-and-off on 20 occasions since the official inception of the Formula 1 World Championship back in 1950, but one that has not now taken place since 1998, when the legendary Michael Schumacher prevailed.

The event has traditionally been held in the South American nation's capital of Buenos Aires, but should it return then the most likely venue is reported to be a street circuit in the Atlantic resort city of Mar del Plata. The sport's commercial rights-holder Ecclestone is known to be keen on street races due to their photogenic nature for television cameras, with recent additions to the calendar Valencia and Singapore and the soon-to-join Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi all falling into that category. Mar del Plata is also understood to have an abundance of nearby accommodation for teams and race-goers.

“I'm talking to people in Argentina,” Ecclestone is quoted as having said by The Associated Press in Monaco this weekend of his discussions with the country's government officials. “We've just started talking.”

Argentine government chief of staff Sergio Massa confirmed in an interview with the newspaper Critica that 'we are trying to bring Formula 1', and it is suggested that a return next year would coincide with the country's bicentennial celebrations.

Though the general tendency in F1 of late is for new races to be granted to Middle and Far Eastern nations who can afford to pay over the odds for the prestige of hosting a grand prix and are consequently capable of building the required standard of facilities to boot, it is felt that an Argentine round on the schedule would be logistically convenient in that it could effectively dovetail with the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos near São Paulo.

Ecclestone was less committal when asked if the Mexican resort of Cancun might also be in-line for a Latin American slot on the calendar, replying bluntly: “I don't know.”


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