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GP Week : Issue 148
Rumours of a grand prix in Argentina could be confirmed within the next month, according to reports in Italy and South America. Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has often spoken publicly of her plans to return Argentina to the Formula One calendar. Last month, Kirchner said that negotiations to host a race were under way, although she did not reveal a preferred location or proposed timetable. It is widely believed that the race, should it happen, will be on a temporary street circuit at Mar del Plata. Argentina already boasts a number of circuits, but none are currently FIA-homologated to Grade I standard. To renovate an existing track to bring it up to F1-specification would be less cost effective than building temporary facilities for what is rumoured to be a three-year contract. “The national government accepts the challenge of organising the Grand Prix of Argentina to promote the image of our country in the world,” Enrique Meyer, Argentine minister for tourism, was quoted by Italy’s Autosprint as saying. “In May, the three-year contract will be signed between all parties involved.” Autosprint is further reporting that the Argentine race will come at the expense of Korea, which is off the calendar in 2013. It is more likely, however, that plans to alternate races in Barcelona and Valencia while scrapping the European Grand Prix altogether will create the necessary slot. The magazine adds that Hermann Tilke has been commissioned to design the Argentine circuit, meaning that fans could well be swapping one waterfront temporary Tilke street circuit for another. 2013 ARGENTINE GRAND PRIX LOOKING LIKELY BRIEFLY » While reports suggest that the alternation of the French and Belgian grands prix is as good as a done deal, efforts are underway to keep Spa on the calendar every year. A petition from the Defend Francorchamps Committee is doing the rounds and can be found at the following URL: http://www.grandprixf1.be/ home.html. The Committee are keen to assert that they support the return of the French Grand Prix, but not at the cost of Spa. “We are not against the Grand Prix of France, with its FIA president, 3 pilots, a manufacturer and an oil company at the top, the return to France is only a beginning!,” the press release read. “However eventually, it is unacceptable that Belgium leaves the table!” » Lotus have lost a senior staff member to engine suppliers Renault Sport F1 as Naoki Tokunaga moves across to take up the role of technical director of the new generation power unit. Tokunaga has been working for teams based at Enstone since 2000, when he started as a vehicle dynamics engineer before being promoted, first to head of control systems and then to deputy technical director. There are no current plans to replace him as deputy technical director. Tokunaga has a strong background in energy recovery systems, making him a valuable new arrival at Viry-Chatillon. 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS