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Argentina discussing F1 return

15 March 2012

As if Bernie Ecclestone didn't have enough reasons to continue to threaten a reduction in F1 races in Europe, Argentina has revealed that it would be interested in returning to the calendar in the near future.

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, when Michael Schumacher survived a clash with David Coulthard to beat eventual champion Mika Hakkinen to the chequered flag in Buenos Aires. Now, with Argentina back on the international map thanks to the WRC and the Dakar Rally's switch from Africa, daily newspaper La Nacion reports that president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is taking the opportunity to suggest the return of F1.

"I was brought the proposal to stage F1 in Argentina and we're reaching agreement," she told an audience at Government House, "God willing, we'll have F1 in Argentina."

The report, however, claims that F1 would not race on the Circuit Oscar Galvez on the outskirts of the capital, which staged the four races between 1995-98 that marked Argentina's latest foray into the category. Instead, it believes that a race around the streets of the resort city of Mar del Plata, some 400km away, was more likely, scotching stories which surfaced last December which suggested a new circuit - Velociudad Speedcity - being constructed closer to the capital, at Zarate, was to target F1.

It is likely that any future Argentine GP would, as in the past, team up with neighbour Brazil on the calendar, with Interlagos currently at the tail end of the season.

Argentina's interest in F1 could spell further bad news for under-fire circuits in Europe, especially at a time when Ecclestone is looking to cull events to make the sport 'more global'. Both German circuits are struggling financially, Spain has just announced that Barcelona and Valencia are likely to alternate in future seasons, while Belgium and France are already further down a similar path. Argentina, however, will face opposition from the likes of Russia and Mexico when it comes to finding a place on future schedules.


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