Argentina and Mexico examine F1 track possibilities

F1 calendar

Velociudad Argentina

Velociudad Argentina

Two countries formerly part of the Formula 1 calendar are evaluating plans which could see both become capable of holding F1 races again.

Argentina and Mexico last held F1 races in 1998 and 1992 respectively, and hosted 35 rounds of the world championship between them.

Argentina

Populous, the architects behind Silverstone’s revised track and new pits, have won a bid to develop an FIA Grade 1 circuit in Argentina, which would be capable of holding F1 and Moto GP races.

The Velociudad Argentina circuit will be built in Zarate, close to the capital city Buenos Aires:

Velociudad Argentina

Velociudad Argentina

A 5.5km track is planned. The image shown above is a concept layout and will not reflect the final design. Design and construction is expected to take two years.

The developers say they are keen to attract an F1 race but the main purpose of the track is to help develop Argentinian racing drivers and teams.

Velociudad Argentina

Velociudad Argentina

They say they will not make an approach about hosting an F1 race until the project is at a more advanced stage.

They plan to host local racing categories including TC2000. The circuit will be within a short drive of five car manufacturing factories belonging to Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Ford and GM.

This concept footage shows more of the planned development:

Mexico

Riccardo Patrese, Nigel Mansell, Williams, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 1991

Riccardo Patrese, Nigel Mansell, Williams, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 1991

The presence of Sergio Perez, Mexico’s first F1 driver in 30 years, could do much to attract backers and help the country regain a spot on the F1 schedule.

FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting recently visited and inspected the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City with a view to the circuit being prepared for FIA Grade 1 status.

The circuit’s owners were given details of the changes they would have to make in order for it to be able to host an F1 race.

It’s not known what changes they would have to make. But the final corner, Peraltada, a high-speed 180-degree right-hander with limited run-off, is a likely source of difficulty.

Bruno Junquiera, A1 Grand Prix, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2007

Bruno Junquiera, A1 Grand Prix, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2007

Single-seater categories which have visited the venue in recent years, such as the defunct A1 Grand Prix (see image) and Champ Car series, have used different configurations at this point on the track.

At one stage the course was diverted through a baseball field in the middle of the corner. Later, Champ Car used a very tight chicane before the corner. Both configurations can be distinguished by zooming in on the map below.

In 2009 the circuit owners planned to use a trio of chicanes to slow the A1GP cars at the corner, but that event was cancelled.

Here is how the track looks at present:

Argentina and Mexico’s F1 history

Images ?é?® Velociudad Argentina (1-3), Williams/LAT, A1 Grand Prix

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130 comments on Argentina and Mexico examine F1 track possibilities

  1. fordsrule (@fordsrule) said on 17th June 2011, 9:13

    Please no, bringing in more new tracks will make us lose the classic races, because we all know Bernie wont drop the new ones.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 9:26

      I think its great these countries look at rejuvenating / building new tracks. There will be more tracks for all sorts of racing and if an opportunity arises, then they can do some international events in the future.

      The Argentinians clearly state, that they want to build the track mainly for ground roots driving and local series, with only the option of F1 being possible.

      Mexico might have a shot at doing an F1 race, but given its in the middle of a city and the money for the fees is big, it will not be that soon, if it ever happens.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 17th June 2011, 12:51

        The approach the Argentinians are taking seems to be a very good one for motorsport in their country, ensuring they have a fan base if they ever do decide to go for an F1 GP.

        It also seems to be a much more sane business case to make than gambling on the ever increasing demands from FOM to get a somewhat longer term contract, and place on the calender.

      • Pinball said on 19th June 2011, 8:06

        It would be sweet to see a race in Mexico. If it happened and the FIA and FOM put their heads together they could get some great F1 tourism happening. Have the Canadian Grand Prix, then have the US Grand Prix two weeks later, and then the Mexican Grand Prix a week after that, and run package bus tours from Montreal to Austin to Mexico city, that included grand prix tickets, accommodation etc. It would be pretty good.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 10:17

      Please no, bringing in more new tracks will make us lose the classic races, because we all know Bernie wont drop the new ones.

      Bernie will drop whatever races display a lack of commitment. Both the Australian and Turkish governments are hesitant to keep paying for their races. One is new; the other, relatively old.

      • zecks said on 17th June 2011, 10:21

        yes but the turkish gp is the only really good new circuit :-(

        • Sush Meerkat said on 17th June 2011, 11:11

          yes but the turkish gp is the only really good new circuit

          While I am fond of Turkey, I quite like the new Korean track too, also Singapore is fun to watch, partly because the event is scheduled at “Dark O Clock”.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 11:33

            Which is better than Canada and Brazil (and soon, America … and possibly Argentina and Mexico), which – for me, at least – are held between the hours of why-the-hell-am-I-still-awake? and please-God-just-let-me-sleep.

          • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 17th June 2011, 15:07

            Hey now, PM, if those of us in the states can put up with crazy hours for most of the season, you guys can handle a few ;)

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 15:20

            I think that as an East Australian PM will have his fair share of crazy hours during the season as well Joey-Poey.

            Its not as if he is one of us decadent Europeans wanting to have it all on the served between Sunday lunch and teatime :-D

      • Mike said on 17th June 2011, 15:30

        That’s incorrect. The newly elected liberal premier for Victoria has been cosying up to Bernie, especially after Melbourne’s mayor Doyle said his piece against it.

      • Zippy said on 17th June 2011, 19:30

        Bernie drops races that don´t put enough money in his pocket. He could care less if they are commited or not.

      • Zoom said on 18th June 2011, 8:04

        Australian F1 GP: The “lack of commitment” referred to is fastly becoming a dated thought. There are moves to develop a permanent track in Avalon, Victoria, Australia.

      • DVC said on 18th June 2011, 10:46

        It’s the Victorian government that foots the bill, not the Australian government. It’s an important distinction because other states in Australia have been keen on F1 in the past.

        • Zoom said on 19th June 2011, 1:15

          Australian F1 GP: A tangent from this article is that most existing F1 venues will view Mexico & Argentina as a threat so they need to improve or die. Australia is often placed on the list of most-at-threat venues. Didn’t help when an insignificant Australian politician talked it down recently. Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) being responsible for the Australian F1 and accountable to Bernie and FIA need to maintain an impressive story at all times… @DVC, other than the Victorian state government what other Australian governments or private enterprise are CURRENTLY willing to invest in F1 ? No use referring to entities who have been keen in the past – it’s about right now!

          • DVC said on 19th June 2011, 7:02

            People will only be interested if there is an opportunity to host the event, and Melbourne has a contract, so there is no opportunity.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 17th June 2011, 11:21

      Please no, bringing in more new tracks will make us lose the classic races, because we all know Bernie wont drop the new ones.

      Both countries have a long history in F1…. it’s not like they are planning to build a circuit in Burkina Faso, you know.

      • unocv12 said on 17th June 2011, 13:48

        I don’t think its the racing in a new country that is anoying people, its the racing in a track that isn’t exciting. The new tracks aren’t as exciting due to massive run offs, layouts that are just repetitious and massively long straights.

        I like the Argentinian trakc. I think it looks really good from a fans perspective. And doesn’t look like a hackish tilke-track, but looks decent. Wouldn’t mind seeing that in F1…

        • Mike said on 17th June 2011, 15:33

          It actually looks different, this is one (of the many) issues with Tilkedromes, they all look the same.

      • Victorinox said on 17th June 2011, 15:15

        Thank you for saying that. It is good to know that people still understand that F-1 isn’t only an European thing. This side of the pond has its fair share of F-1 history, including memorable races and heroic drivers. If I were to protest against a new GP, I think I’d aim at Russia, or simply get rid of the boring GPs like Bahrain and China.

    • Rodrigo said on 17th June 2011, 18:04

      Yo do realize that if Mexico comes back to the calendar, especially with the “Hermanos Rodriguez” circuit that it would actually be the RETURN of a CLASSIC race, right?

      • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 17th June 2011, 23:36

        Likewise with Argentina. Both countries have a massive history in the sport

        • jre_f1 (@jre_f1) said on 17th June 2011, 23:50

          How will they fit it in? There is virtually no way they can get decent run off on that track even if they redesign it, the land on the outside has been sold on and even on the inside of the track too!

          Mexico City has bugger all chance of a race in my view, it would be easier to build a new circuit and that is a shame as if they could do it with the peraltada corner intact it would be pretty awesome, as amodern f1 car would ace the esse bends, a real driver challenge.

          • DVC said on 18th June 2011, 10:54

            Maybe they could buy the land they need back. They might not need as much as before. Barricade technology is getting better.

    • kowalsky said on 19th June 2011, 18:35

      dont look at it this way. Mid east gps can go, valencia and some others as well. Mexico and argentina have heritage, so i go for it.
      Its funny that the most challenging corner at hermanos rodrigez is a problem now. F1 has some problems thats for sure.

  2. Ady said on 17th June 2011, 9:24

    I think that rather than holding annual Grand-Prix, they should be thinking about bi/tri-annual rotations for F1 races (much like they did in Japan).

    Therefore each year F1 would have a different set of tracks, rather than using the same tracks year on year.

    • plushpile (@plushpile) said on 17th June 2011, 9:27

      They do this in the WRC, I gotta say I’m not really a fan of the concept.
      I don’t mind the idea of two or so rounds being shared, but I think the calendar should remain largely similar from year to year.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 17th June 2011, 9:52

        I was going to say that. The calendars need to be similar each year, but for example the rotation between Nurburgring and Hockenheimring is fine. It’s obvious that to add new races you need to take off old races, but which ones?

        • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 17th June 2011, 10:19

          Valencia, Bahrain, Barcelona … To name a few

          • Its Hammer Time said on 17th June 2011, 11:20

            A fine idea guys, but the reality is this won’t happen. Hockenheim and Nurburgring share because even with the pull of Schumi and Vettel, if both run in the same year they both make a loss.

            Investors will run a mile if you were to say this is the $500 million cost of building your circuit, this is my $30 million dollar fee, this is the contract for the next 15 years, or which you will get a GP every other year.

            If any countries do end up alternating it will likely be the existing european ones, because their aren’t backed by oil money… :-(

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 11:32

            If any countries do end up alternating it will likely be the existing european ones, because their aren’t backed by oil money…

            Japan, China, Korea, Singapore, Australia and India don’t have vast reserves of oil. So if we’re not being backed by oil money – which, according to you, is the only reason why Grands Prix are able to stay on the calendar year in, year out – how do we maintain our race?

            This is just another case of someone moving to attack Bernie Ecclestone without actually bothering to do any homework on the subject.

          • unocv12 said on 17th June 2011, 13:52

            PM, jsut goin by your list

            Japan – a car indunstry. No race in Japan is likely to put a further barrier between Toyota, Honda etc.. and F1

            China – Money money money….

            Korea – Car industry. Bringing F1 to Korea to give a hint to the rather large (3rd largest I think in the world behind Europe and Japan, but don’t quote me) car manafacturers to get involved

            Singapore – I can’t remember. Money? Not sure.

            Australia – He is hardly doing any favours in trying to keep it here. It will only be long enough for the angry socialistic minded idiots among us to tare it down

          • Toro Stevo said on 17th June 2011, 14:41

            I think this is definitely the way to go. Have a core set of tracks, Monaco, Interlagos (or Brazil in general), Monza, Silverstone, Germany (one of) and Spa. Then have the rest rotate on a bi-yearly basis. For some of them, maybe 2 in 3 years would suffice.

            But to follow up on unocv12′s post. Australia’s entry is still there as a hangover from Kennett’s bidding wars of the late 90s. Every single year there are the same old arguments down here about the cost given to the european bankers. And the increasingly vocal parkland minority crying about noise or pollution, despite the fact that the park is surrounded by some of the busiest roads in Australia year round. I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time unfortunately. I’m hoping Sydney or Gold Coast pick it up, but given the licensing costs it’s very unlikely.

            I’ve also heard very good things about Singapore as a track for eastern hemisphere tourists (and others) to travel to. Despite the circuit not being up to scratch, it has driven some good numbers and reviews.

  3. AlonsoWDC (@alonsowdc) said on 17th June 2011, 9:31

    The AutĂłdromo Hermanos RodrĂ­guez is one of my favorite circuits ever and that’s not nostalgia – I was born in November of 1987 and only recall knowing that I watched the last Grand Prix of Mexico in 1992.

    I would eat shards of glass to race my car, or any car, around the motorsport equivalent of Estadio Azteca.

  4. Bebilou said on 17th June 2011, 9:42

    Peraltada is a wonderful curve. It would be good to build a “soft wall” (like on the US ovals) just along the track and keep this outstanding corner alive.

    When there is no run-off, it’s safer to have the wall just along the track, not 5m away.

  5. zecks said on 17th June 2011, 10:19

    Mexico used to be a classic circuit! However it would be a real shame if the neutralised it like they did to the A1 ring

  6. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 17th June 2011, 10:25

    Yes! Both countries deserve a place on the calendar. I hope Mexico City isn’t neutered too much though…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 10:45

      Maybe the solution is not in minor changes, but in major ones. Granted, this does remove some of the high speed early sections of the lap, but the challenge of Hermanos Rodriguez was never in the straights – it’s in the altitude. Because the circuit (and the city) is so far above sea level, the air is thinner and the engines have to work harder. I’ve read that in the heyday of turbochargers, the cars were down on power by 20-25% …

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 10:39

    It’s getting to the point where we have to ask ourselves: is twenty-five races a viable prospect?

    I know the teams are hesitant about it, and Jean Todt is unenthused about the idea of twenty-one races in 2012, but I think twenty-five races is the reasonable maximum number that we could have. Especially since circuits want to join the championship, but there are no immediate vacancies.

    The key to all of this is in the calendar. It’s been suggested that races be grouped geographically, with events like Singapore and Malaysia run back-to-back. The circuits themselves will oppose this because they already consider themselves to be in direct competition with one another for attendance figures. But the European events have no such problems – they can all stand up on their own two feet, and the length of the continent is often much shorter than the distance between some of the away races.

    If you look at the current state of the calendar, the back end is a mess, going back and forth. I think the best way to go about it would be to break the championship into five distinct phases: two European legs and three away. It should go east, then west, and back east: start in Australia, go up through Asia via Malaysia, then enter Europe through Russia and do half the European events before a lap of the Americas starting with Montreal and going down to Austin, Mexico City, Argentina and up to Brazil, then back through sourthern Europe to Hungary and then leave via Turkey, down to the Middle East, and then back to Asia via India and Singapore and finishing the season at Suzuka. It means moving Brazil from the end of the season to the middle, but there’s nothing that can be done about that.

    • AdrianMorse said on 17th June 2011, 10:44

      Sounds like a good plan. Anyone have Bernie’s number?

    • JimG (@jimg) said on 17th June 2011, 11:56

      I like the idea of lining up the races physically, but you have to consider the climate as well as the location. You haven’t assigned any dates, but it looks like your plan puts the Brazilian and Japanese events in winter, and Austin and Mexico in summer. Is that feasible?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 13:08

        The dates don’t matter; it’s the idea behind it. And if Formula 1 has to race in the extremes of temperature, is it really so bad? One of the major complaints about the safety car in Canada was that the stewards were nannying the drivers too much.

        • McLarenFanJamm said on 17th June 2011, 13:49

          Which is exactly the issue we’d get every year with your idea. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina in the winter are all very, VERY wet. A lot worse than we’ve just seen in Canada.

          Logistically it’s a good idea, but it just doesn’t translate to the real world.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 13:49

          I think the weather would have to be part of the planning.
          Another consideration if one would go this route is, that it would fill up the months that are now taking for testing will end up being the start of the racing season.

          This in turn will almost invevitably put an end to making a new car each year. If the FIA sticks with the same rules for several seasons, the teams can just go on an update their cars like they used to do decades ago. In the end this might save cost as well.

          • hohum said on 17th June 2011, 14:40

            Right, Arabia in Feb,Pacific rim(Aust.1st)March-April,EU May-August,Americas Sept,(Can.1st)to Nov. seems doable using Airfreighters.Hard work for the teams but extra races mean extra income so extra staff on rotation ok. drivers get paid enough to put up with it.

    • Mike said on 17th June 2011, 15:46

      As nice as 25 races would be……. Can we really ask that much of the guys who put the cars together?

      • Snow Donkey (@snow-donkey) said on 17th June 2011, 16:48

        Can we really ask that much of the guys who put the cars together?

        I think this is exactly the issue. I don’t think too many of us feel bad for the guy driving the car. As stressful as that is, I think we can agree most of them are having fun.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 17:06

          I would think this would defenitely put an end to pre season testing as we know it now, instead having races earlier in the year.

          And the development would have to be continuous instead of having big year to year jumps. But travelling worldwide for more months would be a pretty tough call on the crew.

          • hohum said on 17th June 2011, 17:35

            Yes, but extra income would allow extra “grunt” workers allowing time off every 2 or 3 races and by keeping the locations close together less time would be spent travelling in the long run.

          • Mike said on 18th June 2011, 6:11

            But having more guys is surely the worst way to limit costs.

            I think 20 should be F1′s magic number.

  8. Atticus said on 17th June 2011, 10:51

    Woot, I love the Hermanos Rodriguez track, even without the old, challenging decreasing radius first corner, and the hairpin. Both of them tend to catch me out in GPL. They could insert a chicane before Peraltada like they did on The Glen before the Inner Loop.

    And while I’ve grown to be suspicious of new modern but boring tracks thanks to Tilke, I always find Populous’ designs to be very creative in terms of layout.

    So I’m all ears on these projects though probably they won’t happen in the near future.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 11:01

      I always find Populous’ designs to be very creative in terms of layout.

      It’s a lap of the circuit perimeter. How is that more exciting that Sepang or Istanbul ot Austin?

      If Hermann Tilke had designed the Velociudad Argentina, you’d be all over it about how boring and insipid the design is.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 17th June 2011, 11:10

        Aren’t you always telling us F1 has to have a mixture of tracks?

        A Perimeter circuit is definitely something we don’t have at the moment and what’s more they’ve done it cleverly with all the twists. There’ll probably be elevation changes too, so it sounds very exciting to me.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 11:20

          Aren’t you always telling us F1 has to have a mixture of tracks?

          I am. And it does. But what I mean is that Formula 1 needs a mix of high-downforce and low-downforce circuits, of long and short, of clockwise and anti-clockwise, of street circuits and purpose-built facilities. You know, things that actually define them and the way they have to be driven. A “perimeter circuit” is not one of these traits. It just means that the organisers have a plot of land and have drawn a line around the outer edge. The problem here is that the land set aside is very square, so there’s not really a hell of a lot that could be done with it. Perimeter circuits only really work when you’ve got a piece of land that is an interesting shape. Like that proposal for a circuit in Croatia from the start of the year.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 17th June 2011, 12:59

            You know, things that actually define them and the way they have to be driven. A “perimeter circuit” is not one of these traits.

            I’m sorry but you’re just being picky, not to mention plain wrong.

            By being a perimeter circuit, apart from the little inward detour towards the end, dictates that the drivers will probably spend a lot of time either going straight (or through esses in this case) or change direction through 90 or 180 degrees. It’s very shape dictates the way drivers are going to be driving the circuit, just as the direction does.

            That’s before I even begin to point out that the circuit will most likely be medium-downforce (because of the straights), clockwise, fast and quite long (I’m guessing from those grandstands), something F1 only has in the form of Spa at the moment. So it actually will help the mix after all.

      • Atticus said on 17th June 2011, 14:13

        Perimeter tracks are not less exciting than others just because they are perimeter tracks. E. g. good ol’ Silverstone – simple, yet produced good races plus there was the mighty Woodcote.

        I’m not saying this is 100% guaranteed to produce good races, just that Populous made a good job in Silverstone and gave decent advises to Yas Marina – they told exactly what is needed to secure overtaking possibilities while passing safety standards. I think this is a lot more genuine way of making F1 more exciting then DRS, KERS or tyre management. At least if we are talking about new circuits.

        And last but not least as Keith said this is only a provisional layout, subject to change.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th June 2011, 11:11

      For avoidance of doubt, the prototype design for Velociudad Argentina shown above was created by the group that are putting the project together, not Populous, who have only just come on board. Expect a revised version of the layout eventually.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 17th June 2011, 13:08

        That’s a bit of a shame. Hopefully it won’t be too different, I do like this one.

      • Sean said on 17th June 2011, 13:30

        Good thing! The supplied track layout for Argentina looks more boring than Valencia.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 16:17

        Thanks for highlighting that Keith.

        I think the circuit defenitely looks like it would not work much for racing the way its done now, and not good for access as well.

        Isn’t that one of the reasons for taking Silverstone into the infield, so they can use more of the infield without bridges and tunnels?

  9. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 10:53

    The image shown above is a concept layout and will not reflect the final design.

    Good. I’m not really a fan of the layout. The back part of the lap is alright, but the first half of it is just a lap of the perimeter. Which wouldn’t be so bad if they used the infield a little bit more. Do this instead.

  10. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 17th June 2011, 11:08

    That Argentine looks like it would be great to drive on but I wonder if the two straights would be enough to force a compromise set-up, like Spa, instead of just being aero-dependant like China and Malaysia. It would be very unique though, like a more interesting version of the A1-Ring which was simple but dull – this would be simple but interesting.

    Going back to Mexico would be awesome and probably force exactly that kind of compromise on set-up that produces good racing. I bet they would butcher it though.

    The final corner looks no worse than Parabolica for run off. And of course it gives me an excuse to post this again ;)

    • I didn’t think it looked great to be honnest. COuldn’t see anywhere for overtaking.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 11:23

        Why does everybody need big neon flashing lights that read OVERTAKING ZONE over the relvant section of the circuit?

        And when someone does create a circuit with exactly that, why does everyone criticise them for doing it?

        • Yeah, I agree Itchyes. I think both could be great to be honest. There will probably be a few changes if it ever happens so I don’t want to speculate too much but I like what I can see so far.

          I absolutely agree with PM about overtaking too.

      • David B said on 17th June 2011, 11:28

        That move by Mansell was one of the greatest ever. Remember the shiver through my back when watched it on tv.
        Consider how Mansell was able to follow closely Berger through the previous complex (a long series of left-rights increasingly fast)…it was a time carw was able to follow each other and overtaking was possible even without DRS…

  11. David B said on 17th June 2011, 11:21

    Always regret how they spend money in putting down new lay outs instead of making safe the old ones.
    Hermanos Rodriguez and Buenos Aires (’80 configuration) tracks were great. No need to change layout, update to new safety standards, instead. And please avoid chicanes…

  12. Circuit zolder said on 17th June 2011, 11:21

    If f1 keeps racing in Monaco than they should also gow to the Potrero de los Funes Circuit. :)
    http://bandverde.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/potrerodelosfunes.jpg

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2011, 11:29

      The fans have been calling for a race at Potrero de los Funes for a while now. It hasn’t happened – and it has nothing to do with money (although the circuit would need an upgrade to make Formula 1 happen).

      I am told that an Argentine Grand prix won’t happen without the support of the government in Buenos Aires (after all, Silverstone is the only race that happens without government support). And that the circuit is in San Luis, one of the seats currently held by the national opposition party. It may even be one of those seats that they’ve held for decades, the stronghold of their power if you will. The government will not support a race that would happen in the opposition’s territory. So the only hopes for a race at Potrero de los Funes are a) the government wins the seat in San Luis, b) the opposition win the next election and are willing to the idea of a race, or c) a private investor comes along and sets up the race without help from Buenos Aires. The third option was always the most likely, but now that they’ve come along and are looking at having one in Zarate, all hope of a race in San Luis has faded.

      Potrero de los Funes is a pipe dream. It hasn’t happened yet, and it’s not going to happen. It’s time to move on.

      • Mark Hitchcock (@mark-hitchcock) said on 17th June 2011, 18:06

        Or d) the government support the race, knowing they can use the increase in tourist money to the area as a result of f1 as reasons for the locals to vote for them in the next election.

    • David B said on 17th June 2011, 11:30

      Agree, Potrero looks great.

      • Mike said on 17th June 2011, 15:53

        Is it safe? Or would it be like racing a Bathurst?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th June 2011, 4:06

          It’s very safe. The main issues are the pit facilities. They barely qualify for FIA Grade-2 status, and since they’re wedged between the circuit and the lake, there’s not much space for them to expand into. The paddock certainly wouldn’t be able to accomodate Formula 1, because there’s hardly anything that could reasonably be called a “paddock”. If anything, it would be like Monaco, where teams pretty much have to park anything they don’t need urgently on the French border and send people up to get it as needed.

          There are a few other issues, like access, particularly along the waterfront; in the event of an accident, track marshalls would not be able to enter the circuit at the site of the accident because there’s no access point and no room for one. All it would take is one crash like the Alguersuari-Petrov incident in Monaco where a driver chooses not to leave his car because he believes he may be injured, and there would be calls for the circuit to be dropped from the calendar.

    • taurus said on 17th June 2011, 12:28

      +1

      That place is no more dangerous than Valencia.
      What a track/location too! F1 HAS to go there

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 16:20

      It might never happen, but YES please bring this circuit on the F1 calendar!

      For now its another good reason to watch sportscars races, I guess.

  13. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 17th June 2011, 11:30

    I tell you, this won’t happen. At least the Argentinean one.

    First of all, Zarate is a small town… it’d be impossible for F1 teams to go there. It’s not that far from Buenos Aires, but it’s still a long trip if. They don’t have an international airport either.

    Second, no one wants a track like that in this country. They say it’s going to be “useful for manufacturers to test their cars”. Rubbish. They have at least 20 tracks already built to go and test, including the Oscar & Juan Galvez in Buenos Aires, which is being upgraded. Plus, the manufacturers here have little no no design and test projects at all, they just work along with the Brazilians, who supply the engines, the designs, everything. Not really that much to test…

    And third, WHY OH WHY ANOTHER RACETRACK?. We have like 10 in the Buenos Aires province alone!. Why not fully upgrade the Galvez? TC2000, TC and all the other racing series would be happy to go to this “Velociudad”, but they don’t even go to the Galvez or Potrero de los Funes more than once a year… so the circuit would be empty all year except for 3 weekends.

    PLUS they won’t be able to afford it.

    It just won’t happen. As simple as that. This is all hiccup as we have the elections this year. It has happened before. The guys in San Luis always say that if they are elected, they’ll bring F1 to Potrero de los Funes.

    To be honest, at the moment, the best thing Argentina can do is bring MotoGP to Termas de Rio Hondo, which apparently WILL happen. THAT is a realistic thing to do.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 17th June 2011, 11:45

      By the way, the even made a mistake in the video footage. When they approach the circuit from the sky, they “enter” to Buenos Aires and not Zarate!

      • Dino said on 17th June 2011, 14:26

        To continue why this will happen:

        Zarate is a small town, but it is the center of the automobil industry in Argentina, it is close to all the major factories and easier to access from Rosario and Cordoba.

        As stated, F1 will never return the the Galvez because it is a bad track and it won’t matter how much money they spend into it. It will never go to San Luis because they need to build so many hotels and they have no access via a viable international airport.

        The only place F1 wil go back to is the greater BA area and Zarate is 40-50 minutes from BA and it fits perfectly.

        Motor GP will not go to Rio Hondo, there is no contract and their circuit does not have FIM 1 approval.

        This project has real money behind it and real experts from outside Argentina.

    • Josef said on 17th June 2011, 13:50

      Typical Argentine comment- first of all the galvez autodromo even if upgraded is a bad and dangerous track, it is in the worst part of town and it is a bad facility.

      The San Luis F1 is a fantasy, f1 will never go to San Luis they don’t even have fia grade 1 and enough hotel rooms to host the teams and tourists. The motor GP in rio Honda will never happen, they don’t have FIM 1 grade and have done nothing to improve the circuit.

      Here is why Velociudad will happen: it is not claim to be a track for F1 it is to serve the car companies (if you know the area you will know it is the heart of the automotive industry), karate is small but it is near the nordelta

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 17th June 2011, 14:18

        “typical” no, realistic.

        How come building a whole new racetrack in ZARATE is better than renewing the Galvez (a difficult thing to do but still a far better option).

        The province can’t even build a proper racetrack in Junin, let alone in Zarate with this massive project. Let alone that car companies don’t even test in circuits, so why would they all of the sudden want a racetrack like this one?. They have million of other cheaper options to test cars, if by some miracle they want to do it.

        San Luis F1 will never happen, either. But the MotoGP race is a far more realistic thing to do, even if it’s still very difficult.

        • Dino said on 17th June 2011, 14:33

          The Province is not required to do anything but give building permits which they already did.

          The venture is privately funded and as such is not exposed to the problems of public projects. It is also set to be in Zarate because it is destined to serve the car companies first and not the F1.

          And as someone who actually knows the Moto GP situation I am telling you that at Rio Hondo- Never happening.

          Besides why do you have to doubt everything good that walks in the door, don’t you want to see a good facility in Argentina.

          The Galvez problem cannot be solved for several reasons- the investment needed to bring it up to par will actually be more expensive than building a new place because you have to tare it down completely.. this still doesn’t change the fact that Galvz is located in the worst most dangerous part of the city

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 16:25

      Interesting discussion you guys have over there.

      I can see the argument, that this is a lot to do with elections. On the other hand Dino seems pretty much convinced that private money is available for it.

      I think building a new circuit is often a lot easier and might be cheaper than upgrading an existing facility. Just think about what happened to Imola as it lacks space to be reprofiled to fit modern safety rules.

  14. Mexico was an awesome track, loved the red, white and green kerbs! We used to race it on GP2. That last bend was one of the great bends of the time! Would be great to see it back. Good for Mexico too! Especially now Perez looking like a quality driver….
    Adelaide and Phoenix were other tracks from that era; unlikely they’ll ever come back. Adelaide was another favourite though of the drivers of the time, again great on GP2 ;)…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 16:26

      Maybe bring on a GP2 Americas or World to replace the GP2 Asia thing that only ran in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi (and in Italy to replace one Bahrain race).

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th June 2011, 6:06

        The point of GP2 Asia is to give drivers who do not come from traditional motorsport nations a chance to run in a GP2 championship and maybe catch the attention of an established team for the main series. The problem is that GP2 Asia teams used to cover more distance between GP2 Asia races than they did across the entire GP2 Series championship, and so it gets very expensive to ship everyone everywhere. That’s why the championship has been limited to Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. A GP2 Americas series won’t do much to solve that problem. Especially since it would have to be run during the off-season, when North America is in the middle of winter.

  15. Franton said on 17th June 2011, 13:22

    I’m not convinced of the Argentine proposal, mainly because of all the anti British rhetoric over the Falkland Islands that the Argentine president is currently stirring up. It won’t surprise me if Populous suddenly doesn’t reach an agreement with them and it gets handed off to Herman Tilke …

    The other more remote possibility is that Bernie has been burnt enough from Bahrain and nixes the idea. That’s more of a pipedream at the moment.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 17th June 2011, 13:50

      That’s rubbish. Even if most people don’t like the british (not my case, btw), anyone in this country would welcome any kind of proposal to bring F1 back, because we’re massive petrol-heads.

      I doubt they’d ever hire TIlke eitehr.

      • Franton said on 17th June 2011, 23:34

        With most F1 teams being comprised of British personnel, being based in the UK and the sport’s hierarchies filled with British people … i’d say it has everything to do with it. Relations between Argentina and the UK have been strained for at least the last 30 years and you’re telling me that you think politicians will look beyond that?

        Look again at the national fervour over their current president giving the UK a hard time over the Falklands vs her re-election prospects. Now can you say the same again with a straight face?

    • Dino said on 17th June 2011, 14:28

      The people behind the group are from Canada, the UK and Germany, it is a private venture and it doesn’t really matter how the public feels about the British (which in reality they have nothing against them)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th June 2011, 16:28

      What would being against Britain have to do with it anyway?

      Do you think Argentinian people will think about this being a “british” sport, or rather think about their great heroes like non less than Fangio!

      • Franton said on 17th June 2011, 23:36

        It’s politically expedient in Argentina currently to bash the Brits, especially over the Falklands. Are you sure they wouldn’t pass up that opportunity? Not everyone plays fair you know …

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