by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 156
Rene Arnoux, Renault RE30B, leads team mate (and evenutal race winner) Alain Prost, but finished the 1982 South African Grand Prix in third place. A South African is the most likely venue for an African GP ... maybe back at Kyalami ... bordering on impossible in the practicality stakes, not least because the grand prix would have had to alternate with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, an idea which is anathema to any Italian Formula One fan. Of course, some of these proposed races should be taken more seriously than others. The prospect of a Mexican Grand Prix is very much on the table, with a proposal currently being put together for Bernie Ecclestone’s approval. It is difficult to see how a Mexican race will fail to pass muster. First and foremost is the question of time zones – Formula One needs more races in the Americas if it wants to increase global viewing figures, and a GP in Mexico will be ideal for fans in North, South, and Central America. Depending on the race’s position in the calendar, well- heeled fans and members of the F1 circus can extend the race weekend with a holiday in one of the region’s tourist destinations. Then there’s the matter of local interest, both fan and corporate. The country is heavily involved in the sport, primarily through Sauber’s roster of Mexican sponsors: Telmex, Jose Cuervo, and Visit Mexico, to name but a few. Add to that the presence on the grid of Mexican racer Sergio Perez and the up-and-coming Esteban Gutierrez, and there are some very credible reasons for FOM to support a Mexican Grand Prix. Rumours surrounding a new race in South Africa circulate more often than the winter flu. Ever since Formula One left Kyalami in 1993, there has been talk of going back, either to that famed yet emasculated track, or to one of a number of proposed new circuits that are unlikely to ever be built. Africa is the only major continent now without a race – Pirelli haven’t cracked the ice-spec tyres for the proposed Antarctica Grand Prix yet – and Formula One’s lack of a presence there is one of the sport’s great failings. Growing economies on the subcontinent are leading to emerging middle classes with a disposable income, and a brand new market F1 is failing to tap into. But South Africa remains the only logical African country in which to hold a race – for now – and internal politics there are currently concerned with other matters, not least the schism that appears to be forming within the ANC. A grand prix is far down the list of priorities in a country which (having recently had a convenient international image boost via the football World Cup in 2010) is still addressing its citizens basic needs in terms of education and employment opportunities. While a race in Africa makes sense, even if an ideal location is yet to be found, September 2011 saw a circuit announcement that was bordering on the ridiculous: Iran. “The directors of TSI Group and their iLand resort, a 1,700 hectare resort city currently under construction in Parand city on the outskirts of the Iranian capital city of Tehran, are pleased to announce their plans for the exciting new iLand Race Resort development,” the announcement read. “The iLand Race Resort will comprise a 5.0km race circuit built in the style of the classic ‘naturally contoured’ circuits such as Spa-Francorchamps, the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and Donington Park. It is to be built on a parcel of land of 75 hectares that is 1,100m above sea level, with a natural topography range of 22m. ... Initial groundworks have commenced for construction and Phase 1, the West circuit, is scheduled for completion in 2012, with full construction and operation anticipated in 2013.” The Iranian project aimed to secure a Grade 2 FIA license for the circuit upon completion, allowing the country to host WTCC and GT racing, with plans to expand and secure a Grade 1 license at an unspecified later date – the Ain’t Never Gonna Happen Grand Prix of Tehran... 33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> FEATURE