Several current as well as hopeful Formula 1 tracks made the news these few days, here is a recap:
Bahrain – The organizers rubbished the reports they are planning to stage the GP as a night race in the future. One wonders where these reports came from. Why would they need to run the race in the night with only 2 (or 3? ) hours time difference from most of the European tracks ?
Sepang – The Malaysian organizers however confirmed they are considering night race – Dato Mokhzani Mahatir, chairman of the Sepang circuit:
“We have actually been talking aboug a night race with Bernie Ecclestone since September 2006. Since then he has spoken with Singapore and Melbourne as he’d like to see the F1 broadcast from here in Europe at a more decent hour. Having a race in Asia at night makes sense for that. Singapore and Melbourne are temporary street circuits whereas we are a permanent facility. Putting up lighting systems would allow us to hire the circuit out more.”
Melbourne – Here it looks unlikely the night race will happen, although Mark Webber has been quoted saying this to Adelaide’s Sunday Mail:
“We should try to make night work. It could be exactly what the event needs — who knows? We should fight to have a night race.”
and on Bernie Ecclestone hard line attitude:
“You can’t constantly keep having the same toys in the sand pit. He’s (Ecclestone) certainly got his head screwed on and he will do what is best for the sport.”
In the meantime there has been slight change in the time schedule for the 2008 Australian GP – The race in Melbourne will start at 3:30pm local time.
Silverstone – This is a week old news already… Although the development plans seem to be on the right track, the negotiations over new contract with CVC and Bernie Ecclestone will not be easy. Ecclestone (in his own words) will not hesitate to cut the British GP off the F1 calendar …
St. Petersburg – While slamming Melbourne (and Sydney) and Silverstone, Bernie Ecclestone is on his way to Russia to yet again discuss possible Russian Grand Prix, this time in St. Petersburg.
Algarve – Meanwhile in Portugal … A new F1 style track is nearing completion in the south of the country. The reports say that one team has already booked the facility for testing next January. The ultimate goal however is to return Formula 1 race back to Portugal. The last one was held in Estoril back in 1996 and won by Jacques Villeneuve.
Alcaniz – Amid all the bad publicity Spain received in past week or so, there are reports about another Spanish F1 venue springing up. Barcelona (Montmelo) and Valencia (street track) will host the F1 races this year. The permanent circuits in Valencia and Jerez are popular venues for F1 test. “La Ciudad del Motor de Alcaniz” is to become yet another test facility. It is designed by Hermann Tilke with advice from Pedro de la Rosa and due for completion in 2009.
A1 Ring – The attempts to revive former F1 track in Austria seem to have come to end. The track held its last GP in 2003. It was later bought by Red Bull and set for major redevelopment. The protests from ever present Austrian enviromentalists and failed talks with local authorities lead Dietrich Mateschitz to stop the project aimed at winning back the Austrian GP.
Williams – No, this is not another city but the Williams F1 team … Williams have announced plans to establish a permanent base for its test team in Spain. This is where all the Spanish (and Portuguese) test tracks may come handy .
Continue below to see La Ciudad del Motor de Alcaniz video.