Argentina back on F1 calendar?
COMING IN 2014: The company with designed Johannesburg's Soccer City has designed a new F1 circuit for Argentina.
Author: Rex Gowar
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentina, which last hosted a Formula 1 GP back in 1998, could be back on the calendar from 2014 after a new track near Buenos Aires is completed.
A ground-breaking ceremony went ahead on Friday for a 4.7km Velociudad Speedcity circuit in Zarate, 100km from the capital, which designing company Populous said will be capable of returning F1 to the South American country.
"The plan is for a circuit capable of delivering an F1 event," John Rhodes, associate principal, said. "The key is to offer a Category 1 circuit. Once the facility is there, then it's up to a promoter... the issue is to have a high-performance circuit capable of holding a MotoGP then add the necessary requirements for an F1 race.
"The circuit will be good for F1 and endurance races such as Le Mans; it's a good, sensible length."
The $100-million project will be completed in two phases and will include South America's first driver training centre and academy. The first phase, a 3.1km track, 4x4 off-road circuit and team garages, is scheduled to be completed in 14 months. The second phase will extend the track to its full length, making it eligible for a licence from the International Automobile Federation.
Zarate is easily accessible from the capital along the Panamericana highway that goes north out of the city.
South America's only active F1 track is Interlagos in Brazil which hosted the final race of the 2011 season last month.
Populous was responsible for the recent re-design of Silverstone in England, the London 2012 Olympic stadium and the Soccer City stadium which hosted the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg, South Africa.