Argentina Aiming to Re-Enter World of Formula One Racing

What: Argentina Grand Prix may be returning to the Formula One Circuit next year for the first time since 1998.
Why it matters: Possible return of the Argentina Grand Prix would raise the popularity of the sport in South America in accordance with F1's new initiative to expand the sport's reach.

Early Plans

Arturo Rubinstein, president of Fenix Entertainment, announced that he has been in talks with Liberty Media, the owners of Formula One (F1) Racing, about bringing a grand prix race back to the country. Rubinstein told UK Newspaper The Independent that he had been holding talks with Liberty Media about this new venture. If it were to come to fruition, the Argentine Grand Prix would be held in the southern part of Buenos Aires at the Autódromo Juan y Oscar Gálvez. The Autódromo is a racing track that hosted the last F1 race in Argentina back in 1998.

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Market for Argentina in Formula One?

Ever since Liberty Media, a US-owned mass-media giant, took control of F1 Racing last year in February, they have made no secret of their desire to have a second Grand Prix race in a “destination city” or in another city in the Eastern time zone. The reason behind such a move is to promote the sport outside of Europe. F1 recently conducted an in-depth survey, where more than 215,000 fans from 194 participating countries answered questions about various aspects of the sport. The survey revealed that there has been a sharp increase in fan participation in the sport among North, Central and South America. At the moment, there is only one Grand Prix race in South America: the Brazilian Grand Prix. Argentina would be the second and should it happen, it would not be seen as too much of a risk by Liberty Media for a number of reasons.

For one, Argentina has a history with F1 racing, having been one of the first races to kick off the F1 racing calendar. It also has a rich history of acclaimed Argentinian drivers, like Juan Manuel Fangio. It already has a motor racing circuit, the Autódromo, which still hosts races just currently not F1 races. And perhaps more importantly, Rubinstein says that he has the backing of the Argentinian government. The government is committed to funding £21.5m (US $30m) of upgrades required by F1’s governing body the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).

Bernie Eccelston (former F1 Chief Executive) and Lewis Hamilton (current World F1 champion)

As the work will only take around six months to complete, the hopes are for Argentina to join the racing calendar at the start of next year. Former F1 chief executive, Bernie Eccleston, told Reuters that the race is a possibility, not a given. He also added, “We already have the backing of the Argentine Automotive Club (ACA) as well as of some of the leading companies who have already anticipated their willingness to sponsor the event.” The return of the Argentine Grand Prix would not only generate the massive amount of business that F1 races bring, but possibly raise the level of interest in the sport.

 

 

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Jackie Adedokun @adejax7

Jackie is from Detroit, Michigan but grew up in Southfield a town just outside of Detroit. She returned to Detroit to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Wayne State University in 2014 and a Juris Doctor from Detroit Mercy School of Law this past May. She is currently attending Columbia University's Sports Management Program and also works within the media division of Columbia's Athletic Department.

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