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Mallorca seeks funding for F1 bid

The group behind ambitious plans to stage an F1 race on the island of Mallorca are now chasing tyhe investment needed to construct their circuit.
Despite the growing F1 calendar leading to suggestions that there will be no place for a second race in any one country, plans to build another potential Spanish venue continue apace.

Fernando Alonso's ongoing success at the front of the field, and that of local resident Jorge Lorenzo in MotoGP last season, have fuelled the desire to see a world class motorsport facility in Mallorca, even though ambitious hopes of attracting F1 to the island could be thwarted by Barcelona's strong relationship with the sport and the struggle to keep Valencia's street circuit on the schedule as rival candidates mount up.

Apparently undeterred, however, those behind the dream of F1 heading to the Balearics are now at the stage of finding backers for the project, having estimated that simply getting to the point of staging the inaugural event at the proposed Llucmajor circuit could be as high as €200m.

Llucmajor, close to the major city of Palma, was picked out as the best site last year, and German-language newspaper Mallorca Zeitung claims that, with a layout now agreed and F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone in talks, organisers are pressing ahead with fund-raising in a bid to turn their dream - which includes a grand prix in September 2012 - into reality.

"The project would help not only the local community, but give the whole island a tremendous economic boost," Llucmajor mayor Joan Jaume stated,

The 50-acre site would be graced by a 5km circuit designed by Gabriel Palmer - as opposed to F1's favoured penman Hermann Tilke - despite the Spaniard's lack of experience.

"The Balearic Islands are the only region in Spain where there is no such facility," Palmer, who has consulted Alonso's Ferrari team for advice, commented, "We had agreed to review the existing development plan in this community, and there we found a suitable property, which is only a short drive from Palma's international airport, numerous hotels of all categories, and the capital itself."

Plans for the circuit to replace Valencia's much-maligned street venue were given another boost by the addition of Philippe Gurdjian to the event team, the Frenchman not only having Ecclestone's ear but also experience of organising both F1 races and top class circuits, notably the Ecclestone-owned Paul Ricard. The Mallorca project has also been earmarked as a potential testing venue, while the organising CCB group has drawn up plans to include a race school, development centre and business park to accompany the circuit.

"Mr Ecclestone was enthusiastic and encouraged us to pursue the project," local motorsport federation president Augustin Arbex concluded.



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