Argentine Formula One Grand Prix to be included in the 2015 race calendar?
The oldest circuit to hold Formula One race outside Europe, Argentine Grand Prix (Autodrome, as it was known back then) is on track to rejoin the Formula One race calendar, hopefully by 2015. The first Formula One race to take place at the Argentine Grand Prix was back in 1953, while the last time Argentines heard the roaring of F1 cars was in 1998.
This is where it all started. If it was not for Argentina, we are not sure F1 would have become a global sport that it is today. Legendary Argentine racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio (nicknamed The Master), was the inspiration behind building Autodrome. Fangio is also the man who before Michael Schumacher, held the record for most number of F1 World Championships. Fangio was F1 World Champion for five times (1951, 1954, 1055, 1056 and 1957).
Interestingly, both the first and last F1 races to be held at Argentine Grand Prix have been won by Ferrari cars, and the last won was won by none other than Michael Schumacher, who at that time had only won 2 of his 7 World titles. Later in 1998, organizers of Argentine Grand Prix ran into financial problems because of which, Argentine Grand Prix had to be removed from the F1 calendar.
Argentina has a huge number of die-hard F1 fans and it was only a matter of time before F1 returned to Argentina. Design firm, Populous has been assigned the job of building a new circuit, just outside capital Buenos Aires, which will host Argentine Grand Prix. The project is expected to cost $100 million.
Mr John Rhodes, Associate Principal, Populous, said, “We are really proud to contribute with our design to create a new destination for F1, which always means an economic catalyst for the area and produces global exposure. During the last five years we have developed technology, software, and design techniques through the use of simulation to physically test the design of a circuit. We are really proud to contribute with our design to create a new destination for F1. These pioneering techniques have enabled the creation of a topographically exciting and challenging medium-speed circuit on what was a relatively square and flat 63-hectare site.”
The new circuit which will host Argentine Grand Prix will be built in two stages. The first stage will involve building a 3.1 km race track, another off-road track, garages, and pit lane. First stage is expected to be completed in 14 months. Second stage will see Argentine Grand Prix race track length to be increased to 4.7 kms, this will enable the track to obtain F1 license. The entire circuit is expected to be ready by 2014 end, after which procedure to acquire F1 race license will begin. If all goes accordingly, we will finally get to see F1 cars racing in El Maestro’s country after a gap of 18 years.