Argentina building F1-standard circuit

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: A new, F1-standard circuit is being built in Argentina.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Argentina could return to F1 calendar (Reuters)

“Friday marked a ground-breaking ceremony of the 4.7 km Velociudad Speedcity circuit in Zarate, 100 km from the capital, which designers Populous said will be capable of returning F1 to the South American country.”

Rousing applause for Montezemolo “The best present I could get” (Ferrari)

Luca di Montezemolo: “What I like about our drivers is their ability to work with the team: I knew that about Felipe [Massa] and it was a pleasant surprise to find out the same applied to Fernando [Alonso]. I don’t like drivers who turn up at the track with their briefcase and do not share in the daily life of the team: they are not Ferrari people.”

Paul di Resta can Force India (Daily Telegraph)

Anthony Hamilton: “As far as the mid-ranking teams are concerned, Paul and Nico [Hulkenberg] is probably the most exciting driver pairing out there. They’re both great kids – young, fresh, exciting – and I reckon they will push each other hard next year.”

Interview with Luis Perez-Sala (HRT)

“In the short term the main objective is to consolidate the project. Create a strong team in Spain that works, with the technical area in Munich. And of course to have the 2012 car ready for the start of the season to be able to take part in the first race and all the pre-season tests that we can. In the medium term we intend to improve the car and get closer to our rivals than last year.”

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Comment of the day

Wonderduck is not impressed by Bernie Ecclestone’s negative view on the United States Grand Prix:

Hey, Bernie, a word of advice from one of the hundreds of thousands of US F1 fans: Shut up. We’re ready and willing to give you our money once the sport gets here, but you’re making it perfectly clear that you don’t want us or our dollars.

Give us a chance. We’ve shown that we can blow attendance records out of the water before. F1 fans here in the US understand the sport at least as well as fans from Britain, France, Germany and Abu Dhabi. We even understand that race cars can turn right, too.

Will F1 ever be as popular as NASCAR here in the US? No, probably not, but the fans that exist now are exactly the type you want a sport to have: hard-core die-hards?? the type who’ll wake up at five in the morning to watch a race on a Sunday.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Julio MV!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to John Booth of Virgin, soon to be Marussia, who is 57 today.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “Argentina building F1-standard circuit”

  1. “Friday marked a ground-breaking ceremony of the 4.7 km Velociudad Speedcity circuit in Zarate, 100 km from the capital, which designers Populous said will be capable of returning F1 to the South American country.”

    It looks fiddly. In places, it looks like a go-kart circuit on steroids (though some of the short versions of the circuit look great – I particularly like “Medium Track 1.0”). But I’m not entirely sure that this is the final version of the circuit; Googling “Velociudad Speedcity” get you this Sepang-Bahrain hybrid”. The official website for the circuit list the full course as being 5.5km long, but that Reuters article specifically mentions the circuit as being 4.7km long and I can’t find any data on the length of the shorter circuits.

    1. I think it’s fine..but that first corner.. ARGHH! IT’S BAHRAIN AGAIN!

      1. What if I told you it wasn’t designed by Hermann Tilke, but by Populous, the firm that did the Silverstone upgrade?

    2. The whole infield section is too tight. But, like Bahrain, I think the periphery circuit looks good.

    3. it looks more like sepang, on reverse :D

    4. @prisoner-monkeys It really is quite fiddly! Looks more like a rally stage.

    5. It seems the layout has changed overnight.

      What originally was a 30-turn… thing… when I looked at this last night has now become identical to the picture of @prisoner-monkeys“Sepang-Bahrain hybrid”, even though the original layout shown is still present on their about page.

      Odd business. Though I like “Sepang-Bahrain” hybrid layout much more than that other one. I hate how most of the modern F1 tracks all have twenty corners.

  2. I’d like to see a bigger pic

    1. @manatcna – I assume you mean a bigger picture of the circuit?

      Your wish is my obligation command.

  3. I love the way the Velociudad news is being lifted everywhere in the world except Argentina. None of the specialized newspapers and sites talked about it again, after the idea was announced a couple of months ago.

    I’d love to see F1 back in Argentina, but I really doubt it’ll ever happen. I just don’t buy it…

    1. Don’t buy it?

      Who are you not to buy it, when a group of investors already made the investment and started construction.

      are you just another Argentine who sits home drink mate and wait for everything around you to fail while doing nothing?

      For shame

  4. @COTD

    Will F1 ever be as popular as NASCAR here in the US? No, probably not…

    The only thing F1 needs to have to get more mainstream media coverage and popularity in the US is a successful American driver.

    Spain didn’t care that much for F1 until Alonso got his first pole position and win in 2003. I think the same thing happened in the 90s with Germany and Michael Schumacher. In the UK you had Mansellmania in the 80s/90s and Hamiltonmania in 2007/08. And F1’s popularity in Brazil goes all the way back to Emerson Fittipaldi’s success in the 70s.

    F1 will never have the viewership of Nascar in the states, but I’m sure more Americans would watch if it was a Buck Rogers winning instead of Vettel.

    1. @rfs

      In the UK you had Mansellmania in the 80s/90s and Hamiltonmania in 2007/08.

      Grand Prix racing in Britain dates back to pre-war times. It certainly did not all begin with Nigel Mansell.

  5. I meant to say when I originally read it that I liked your comment, @wonderduck . I have to say, though, I really don’t know what to think about what’s going to happen with F1 here in the US. I would love to believe the next USGP is going to be a raging success, but I’m not sure I understand why there isn’t more of an extensive fan base to begin with.

    Why don’t I know anyone here as fanatical as I am? Most people I know are utterly clueless about the sport, to the point where some don’t even realize the cars don’t look like normal cars. Their ignorance about it is pretty comprehensive, even though the last USGP was only in 2007. Plus, as I know I’ve said before, NASCAR makes many people here reluctant to have anything to do with motor racing in general.

    The recent article in GQ was interesting in some respects. I have mixed feelings about this, for example:

    It’s my impression, though, after a weekend at the circuit, that F1 should be less concerned with mimicking the moves of NASCAR than standing as a clear alternative—in particular, for the politically blue sports fan who has long balked at the fuss surrounding NASCAR.

    …but I’d be lying if I said that dichotomy hadn’t occurred to me. One part of that article I liked in particular was when Lewis Hamilton stressed the importance of getting the cars in front of people. I think they’re something so foreign to most people’s experience that they’re fascinated even just being up close to one. That was my experience when I volunteered at “Senna Saturday” in NYC, where two F1 cars were on display. People — just passersby, not fans — could not get enough of them.

    1. I wish there was a like button. That was a great comment :D

      1. Thanks, @mike ! I worried I was rambling, so that was nice to hear. :-)

    2. I would love to believe the next USGP is going to be a raging success, but I’m not sure I understand why there isn’t more of an extensive fan base to begin with.

      There is no reason why it cannot be a raging success. But even if it is, even if it is in front of a sell-out crowd, the United States Grand Prix could still fail to make an impression on American audiences. And now that I think on it, I feel that this is what Mr. E was getting at when he said it would not be embraced by the American public – the race might be successful by Formula 1’s standards, but what about by American standards? In the article posted yesterday, Bernie said this:

      “The US has been slow to get F1 because they want to see a profit before they start.”

      But the BBC, who posted the article, made some very interesting edits to the interview, which was actually given to Al Jazeera:

      “We’ve got a maximum of two races in America and when you consider the country is as big as Europe and we’ve got several races in Europe, it’s difficult. If we had a lot more races there and a lot more television it would be okay. It’s a bit like the rest of America in that they want to see a profit before they start something and it’s not easy to do that.”

      Bernie clearly says that he feels the race will struggle to make an impression in the public consciousness because he is trying to cover an area larger than Europe (which has eight races) with just two Grands Prix. And when you read the full quote, this makes a hell of a lot of sense. But the BBC article cuts all of that out – once again, Bernie’s comments are taken out of context, and everyone assaults him for it.

      1. You’re right — having the USGP succeed as an event and having F1 become popular in the US more generally are two quite different things. I’m not sure having “a lot more races” here would necessarily do the trick, but I suppose it couldn’t hurt. I mean, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think IndyCar is hurting these days, and they have plenty of races around the US.

        More (and better) television coverage of F1 here, though? That, I think, could be very important.

    3. @aka_robin said: “Why don’t I know anyone here as fanatical as I am? Most people I know are utterly clueless about the sport, to the point where some don’t even realize the cars don’t look like normal cars.

      So educate them! Explain why you’re a fan, maybe force them to watch a race and be prepared to answer questions. Show your excitement and it’ll be contagious. I’ve converted five or six people to F1 fandom than way, and they’ve brought others in themselves.

      Sure, it helps if you have a blog with a not-tiny readership… I get about 3000 visitors a day… but I got one person interested just by talking about F1 at work.


      1. This might surprise you, @wonderduck , but those ideas have actually occurred to me! ;-)

        But seriously, I talk up F1 all the time. Frankly, I often can’t help myself. However, I tend to run into obstacles that go something like this:

        (1) Wants nothing to do with motor sports, eyes glaze over at the mere mention of it. —> (2) Open to the idea of this strange thing I’m always babbling about, but oh, bummer, doesn’t get SpeedTV. —> (3) Open to the idea and actually gets SpeedTV, but wow, the race starts at 8:00 am Sunday morning?! Um…yeah…about that…

        I’ve had some very limited success, but it’s very slow going!

        1. Imagine how much harder it is when the races are 5AM on Sunday. I don’t even wake up to watch those live myself, let alone ask non fans to do so.

          1. Personally, @us_peter, I think that that hurt the Bahrain 2010 race probably even more than the actual race. Getting up/staying up at a horrible time, and that after a winter of enormous anticipation had been built up, and then end up with a race like that …

            I know I was just sitting there, looking at it and wondering if there was going to come that move by Alonso the commentators had been stressing would surely come soon now. And it came only when Vettels engine cut down.

  6. The Argentine track is almost Oulton Park: foster circuit-esque in that its almost square, but it has a lot to beat to be the worst circuit built for F1 so if its average its good!

    1. @ratboy – I still think it looks like a mess. Like I said, the full-legnth circuit feels like a glorified karting track. I think a shorter, less busy version (like this) would be much better.

      1. Even that looks messy if i’m honest.
        for some reason I find if the track has 2 similar lengh straights with a 90degree bend seperating them it’s very hard to make the rest of the track look good and less like a kart track

        1. @ratboy – The other alternative would be this, but it’s also fiddly and cuts out all the good corners in the first sector. And would possibly be too short. The full circuit is 5.5km, and this layout cuts out two major sections of circuit.

          1. now that looks better, if its too short the straights could be lenghed so that it’ll meet the requirements

          2. I still like the first. It keeps all the interesting corners in place.

        2. I think that the circuit is mis-represented in the fancy 3-D picture. I don’t think it is nearly as fiddly on the straights as the picture suggests, but is actually trying to show the changes in elevation down the straights but it comes out as “wiggles”

      2. Um, how it that any less busy than the “Outer” version? If anything it’s even worse.

        It’s not a great layout, but it would be something different. It looks like the child of the Hungaroring with some of daddy Hockenheimring’s features.

  7. I live 12km from where the circuit is being built. It will be very rare to see it into the calendar. Here the media it’s ignoring any info about it, so I don’t know what to think. I am going to go there and see whats happening, I will keep you informed!

    1. Here the media it’s ignoring any info about it, so I don’t know what to think.

      A new circuit being built is hardly something the mainstream media pick up on. Especially since the circuit is being built to Formula 1 standards, but there is no guarantee that the circuit will actually hold the race. Once the circuit begins to take shape, and if a deal is struck to revive the Argentine Grand Prix, then I expect you will hear more about it.

      1. Do you live in Argentina? Here we are at the third world, lot of poverty and this kind of things do not happen every day, and this thing it’s too big!

        1. No, I do not live in Argentina. I do, however, know that “We’re going to host the Argentine Grand Prix!” is a bigger headline than “We’re going to build a racing circuit that might host the Argentine Grand Prix!”.

          1. soundscape (@)
            18th December 2011, 8:53

            @PrisonerMonkeys – That second headline is considerably larger. :P

  8. Its obviously not a Tilke track; the back straight is too short and the main straight is too long!

    1. Sounds like Fuji, then. The latest version of which was also a Tilke track.

      1. That wasn’t originally a Tilke track, and Tilke had nothing to do with the pre-existing basic layout of long straight and fiddly everywhere else.

  9. From LDM himself:

    “I don’t like drivers who turn up at the track with their briefcase and do not share in the daily life of the team: they are not Ferrari people.”

    A veiled criticism of Raikkonen? I’ve always found it ironic that LDM pushed Schumacher out for Raikkonen, considering Kimi’s… approach to the sport in comparison to LDM’s.

    1. I also think, that this was addresed to Kimi, but he probably can’t accept that Kimi is much better driver than Felipe, he was just lacking motivation, when he was driving for Ferrari. I’m sure Kimi will prove all critics wrong.

    2. @Journeyer

      A veiled criticism of Raikkonen?

      That’s what I thought when I first read it. You’d certainly expect it to be aimed at someone significant who’s driven for the team recently and I doubt it’s Schumacher.

      1. When Schumacher was at Ferrari, he didn’t just share in the daily life of the team; he WAS the daily life of the team (for better or worse).

  10. The battle between Force India with Paul di Resta and Hulkenberg and Sauber with Kobayashi and Perez will be epic next year.

    1. I think it’s more likely that Force India will be fighting Renault and Sauber scrapping with Toro Rosso.

      1. Maybe, but I’m banking on Sauber’s advantage of developing the car without a blown diffuser for the majority of the 2011. Haha

  11. Happy Birthday Julio MV. I share my birthday with you.

    1. A very much veiled way of asking for a birthday shout out @Chalky!

      A bit late (I didn’t manage to look at the site often in the past couple of days), but here goes: Happy Birthday Chalky (and the same to Julio MV, off course)

  12. Why are they building another enormous project when Argentina have already one of the best racing track ever :

    1. @dan_the_mclaren_fan

      Um, perhaps they can build it so that they can have another world-class racing circuit?

      If you’re talking about holding the Argentine Grand Prix at Potrero, it’s not going to happen. The circuit barely qualifies for an FIA Grade-2 licence. The pits and the paddock are far too small for Formula 1, and they cannot be upgraded because there is nowhere to upgrade them to. There is virtually no access to the bottom part of the circuit for safety vehicles, and virtually none of the corners have enough run-off. Nor are there any spectator facilities, like grandstands.

      Even if all of that could somehow be addressed, there is an even bigger problem: the largest airport that could handle the arrival of Formula 1 (probably Rosario – Islas Malvinas) is over five hundred kilometres away; failing that, the cars would have to arrive in Buenos Aires, which is over seven hundred kilometres away. It’s just too far. Even when the French Grand Prix was at Magny-Cours, it was only two hundred and thirty kilometres from Paris. Driving from Sao Paulo to San Luis is out of the question because Sao Paulo is two thousand kilometres away (and that’s in a straight line; it’s three thousand by road). Convincing the government to upgrade a regional airport – one of the most expensive infrastructure projects there is – to be able to handle the arrival of Formula 1 would be a very difficult job and a very unpopular use of public money.

      A race at Potrero de los Funes might be a nice idea, but it’s just too impractical to be realised any time soon.

      1. Get Tilke to put in a main straight capable of landing a380’s, simple.

        1. Not possible. An airport needs flat land all around it. The area around San Luis is very hilly. Sometimes you can get airstrips on an incline (there’s one in Bhutan that is absolutely bonkers – it’s half the length of a conventional airstrip, but incredibly steep to let outbound flights build up enough speed to take off and to slow incoming planes as they land), but they can only handle small aircraft. Not A380s.

      2. Yeah too bad this track couldn’t be used in F1 nowadays : it would have been an awesome race to watch…

        1. Actually, I’ve long suspected that if Formula 1 raced there, it would actually prove to be rather boring.

  13. The Argentina GP track looks plain and dull! How is it possible to design a track with so few good bits. If a F1 car goes around that it would be the most dullest race ever. I don’t know much about the fans there but will they support it? Someone stated that there is a lot of poverty, would they folk out to see the race?

  14. I can’t help but think Ecclestone has a bit of an ulterior motive with his comment regarding the US. I believe he doesn’t want to count his chickens before they hatch. Having two races in two years time from absolutely nothing is quite a big statement to make. I believe that he wants it to be a success so much he’s probably just being a little more reserved than usual.

  15. I hope Argentina secures a place on the calendar, South America should have a second race in my opinion.

  16. The track in the picture is OUTDATED!
    I don’t understand why the media picks a random image and just displays it like that.

    Anyway the current layout of the actual track can be found on their facebook page:

    And FYI it’s not being built for F1 only, it’s built so F1 CAN use it when and if they come. Other than that it’s aiming to host all kinds of categories, train young drivers, and have a club for motorheads who need a safe exclusive track to use in a safe part of the city…

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