Argentina could be making a comeback to the Formula 1 landscape by as soon as 2014, with investors announcing that a purpose-built circuit will be built on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
The plans has been dreamed up by Canadian-born businessman Eddie Freedman, who purchased a piece of land for this very purpose.
Dubbed Velociudad – or ‘Speed City’ – Freedman’s concept will be a multifunctional complex housing a circuit with seating for 50,000 fans, an onsite hotel and convention centre, driving academy and racing school.
The entire project will cost some $100 million to build, and it is hoped that construction work will be completed by 2013.
The layout proposed for a Grand Prix race is some 3.3 miles in length, but with over 20 corners and an insanely tight infield layout – not to mention that its longest straight is just over 500 metres in length – it would seem that there’s still some work to do.
Hopes of Formula 1 making a return to Argentina for the first time since 1998 will rely on two things.
The first will be the support of Bernie Ecclestone, who would probably welcome the event as it would give F1 audiences another race in the US timezones, a crucial market for the sport’s expansion into its American fan base.
The second will be down to the Argentine government itself, and how much it is prepared to invest in the event. Motorsport is growing in popularity in Argentina: it has a strong domestic racing scene and the national government recently confirmed it would help fund a MotoGP event at the Rio Hondo circuit.
The key player in this will be a former Ecclestone driver, Carlos Reutemann, who is now a senior senator in the leading Partido Justicialista, the country’s long-time ruling party. He was instrumental in the sport’s return to Buenos Aires in 1995, and he’ll no doubt be keen to see Argentina back on the F1 map once again.