The identity of the Portuguese 'national seat holder' in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix season has been unveiled, and has links to two of the country's favourite sporting sons.

The Figo Foundation, led by legendary football stars Luis Figo and Carlos Queiros, has been named as holding the Portuguese franchise for the self-styled World Cup of Motorsport, which is due to kick off in the autumn of 2005. Portugal joined five other countries - China, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa and the United Kingdom - among the first tranche of 'seat holders' revealed in London last month, with Australia, Canada and Malaysia expected to be added to the list at the South African unveiling in Johannesburg tonight [Monday 1 November].

The Figo Foundation was established 'to help young people without economic resources to develop their talents while avoiding drugs, alcohol and crime', and already has motorsport links, backing several rising stars in the UK ladder system, including Joao Urbano and Duarte Felix de Costa in Formula BMW and Alvaro Parente in F3. Portugal will field two cars in the inaugural A1GP season, although the identity of its drivers has yet to be revealed.

Series organisers also used the Johannesburg unveiling of South Africa's car to announce the franchise holders for the three latest countries to sign up. For Australia, 1980 F1 world champion Alan Jones and successful F3 team boss Alan Docking will oversee operations, while Canada has the chairman of Regent Mercantile Bancorp, J Jay Laski, at the helm. Malaysia's only F1 and Champ Car Series driver, Alex Yoong, will conduct his country's involvement. John Surtees, the only man to win world titles on two and four wheels, has already been unveiled behind the UK effort.

 

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