Argentina's calls for a return to the F1 calendar could be confirmed as early as next month, according to sources.
The South American country has been absent from the schedule for 13 years, having ended its last brief flirtation with the top flight in 1998, but has been rumoured to be chasing a return with a new street circuit in the beach resort of Mar del Plata, some 400km distant from the Circuit Oscar Galvez near Buenos Aires that last hosted the F1 circus. The suggested venue also scotches plans to return F1 to Argentina as a new circuit, christened Velociudad Speedcity, currently being constructed closer to the capital, at Zarate.
Although the congestion among countries aiming to join the grand prix calendar shows no sign of easing, Italy's Autosprint
believes that Argentina could be confirmed on the 2013 schedule, with spaces opening up due to the axing of Korea and Valencia's imminent decision to 'race share' with neighbour Barcelona. Should it be confirmed, Argentina would leap-frog Russia in joining the schedule, with the European addition not due to come on line until after the 2014 Winter Olympics that will use the same venue in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. The other vacancy is due tol be filled by a second north American race, on a street circuit in New Jersey.
The report claims that Bernie Ecclestone is likely to ink a three-year deal with minister of tourism Enrique Meyer, paving the way for the construction of a Hermann Tilke-designed 5km, 18-corner layout taking in a mix of city streets, the promenade and a former naval base, giving the Mar del Plata a feel of Monaco and Singapore. According to motorsportgp.pl
, the estimated lap time will be in the region of 1min 33secs, with an average speed of 193km/h (120mph) and a maximum speed, at the end of the main straight, reckoned to reach around 320km/h (199mph).
"The national government accepts the challenge of organising the Grand Prix of Argentina to promote the image of our country in the world," Meyer was quoted as saying, "In May, the three-year contract will be signed between all parties involved."
It is likely that any future Argentine GP would, as in the past, team up with neighbour Brazil on the calendar, joining Interlagos at the tail-end of the season.