Bernie Ecclestone had no immediate reaction to news that Iran was planning to construct an F1 facility in the midst of a multi-million dollar sports park but, when he found his voice, it wasn't positive.
A press release issued earlier this week [HERE
] revealed that Tehran-based TSI Group would oversee the construction of a huge multi-purpose facility called iLand Race Resort close to the Iranian capital, with a Spa-inspired 5km circuit, to be designed by UK agency Apex Circuit Design - the company behind the recent updates at Silverstone - at its heart.
As well as the circuit, there are plans to include a kart track, championship golf course, equestrian facilities and an Olympic-standard sports complex - as well as homes for 50,000 people - on the site, but, despite the initial intention being to gain an FIA Grade 2 licence which would allow the track to host the FIA World Touring Car Championship and FIA GT Championship, F1 remains a long-term aim for those behind the project.
Despite that, however, Ecclestone appeared nonplussed by suggestions that F1 may be headed to its most unlikely venue yet, with Iran still eyed suspiciously by the west.
"I don't think Iran is top of our list," he told speedtv.com
, "Nobody has spoken to me about this. There is just no space on the calendar anyway. We already have three or four places wanting a race and we had enough trouble squeezing the United States into next year's calendar."
A lack of space on the F1 schedule hasn't stopped Ecclestone pursuing other possible additions, with Russia due to join the fray in 2014, and reports of attempts to add a second American round running hand-in-hand with repeated talk of South Africa's return. That said, however, Turkey has been canned from the latest version of the 2012 schedule, and Belgium is rumoured to be entering into an event share agreement with France from 2013, where each country would only run on alternate years.