Iran planning to build F1-standard racing circuit

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In the round-up: Iran is planning to build a Formula One-standard circuit.


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Iran to construct Formula 1 circuit in Qeshm Island (IRNA)

"Vice president and head of cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism organisation Masoud Soltanifar said on Sunday that Iran has a plan to construct Formula One circuit in Qeshm Island."

Vettel: Ferrari must capitalise on Mercedes slip-ups (F1i)

"Mercedes still has the strongest package. You don't make up such a deficit quickly. Ferrari has taken a step forward in winter but it will take a while to be on the same level as Mercedes."

McLaren sees Monaco as big chance (Autosport)

"Monaco is the first circuit that we may enjoy a little bit better result but we will see."

After Sauber saga Van der Garde sees a future in WEC or the DTM (Adam Cooper's F1 Blog)

"Of course you never give up, you always keep a little bit of hope, but after what happened to you you are a little bit fed up with everything, in the beginning especially."

Jorda: I’ve liked engines since I was a toddler (The Sun - subscription required)

"Meet Carmen Jorda — the First Lady of Formula One who is hoping to make the boys cry."

Sir Stirling Moss brings ghosts of Formula One’s glorious past vividly back to life (The Independent)

"I give you this spiffing tribute, straight out of the Ealing Comedies script-writing manual, to his Vanwall team-mate Tony Brookes (sic), whom he described as the best driver he had faced after Fangio. 'He was a very quiet man. He did not chase the crumpet because he was a Catholic.'"


Comment of the day

@Tom-L won this weekend’s Caption Competition:

“A Red Bull, you say? That’s all well and good, my son, but have you ever shot an elephant?”

Thanks to everyone who joined in especially @Me4me, @bullmello and @dstaplet13 who also supplied some highly amusing suggestions.

From the forum


Chevrolet have followed Honda in revealing their superspeedway-specification IndyCar aerodynamic kits which will be used for the first time in this month’s Indianapolis 500.

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On this day in F1

Didier Pironi scored this first victory of his F1 career 35 years ago today, driving a Ligier in the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. He led home the Williams of pole sitter Alan Jones by 47 seconds, with the sister car of Carlos Reutemann a further 37 seconds behind, and everyone else at least one lap down.

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85 comments on “Iran planning to build F1-standard racing circuit”

  1. I’m not sure Iran is ready to host international events at this point, but they do seem to be moving slowly in the right direction. I think it would be hypocritical to dismiss the idea out of hand when the other countries we visit in the region are frankly not much more progressive. That’s not to say I think it’ll happen any time soon, it would probably create too many issues with Bernie’s other commercial partners.

    Oh, and nice to see The Sun being pathetic as ever.

    1. You seem to have this business née sport confused with something that cares for something other than money.

      1. Can’t wait to see the grid-girls.

        1. Touché :)

        2. +1 only 4 days in and think we already have the comment of the month!Lol :)

        3. @hohum – Excellent!

        4. + 1 !!!

    2. Iran is more democratic (though the bar is set really low) than the UAE and Bahrain, definitely — they probably do need to get sanctions lifted before F1 could visit though. And knowing the hard-liners in both the US and Iran (though these days mostly in the former) who knows if that’s possible.

      1. @hircus Mostly in the former?!! If you think that anyone bar the ayatollahs runs the things in Iran, nowadays or at any time since 1979, you need to re-attach your connection to reality asap. Every real moderate in Iran is either in jail, or already executed, publicly or in secret, or in the best case scenario on house arrest with the so-called “revolutionary guards” monitoring their every step and word. And yet the real-hardliners are in the US apparently…

        Surely even F1, as appalling as its record’s been dealing with murderous regimes can’t contemplate going there any time soon

        1. Well…they do have now the U.S. GP don’t they. Consider how many innocent people they have killed, with their two invasions of Iraq. A couple of million at least.

          1. How do they treat their own citizens?

          2. @lewymp4: How many innocents Saddam would have killed in Iraq, Kuwait etc had they not “invaded”?

            @2face: You’ve misspelled: How do they treat their own criminals you wanted to say…

        2. @montreal95 I’m saying it’s the US hard-liners that are impeding a negotiated end to sanctions. Not that the US hard-liners are worse or better than Iranian hardliners. Chill man.

  2. If there are enough Rials, Bernie will be there.

  3. Thanks @keithcollantine for the CC honorable mention. Usually I think of my funniest bits about a week too late.

  4. Those Indycars look ridiculous.

    1. Maybe you haven’t seen the aero packages with the coffee table winglets. ;-)

      Seriously, I think these look fairly clean. The only part that looks really off to me is the right side only element on the rear wings. ( I do understand they are using this on a large oval track. It still seems odd.)

      1. @bullmello Still prefer the old Dallara.

        Those aerokits make it worse

        1. @fer-no65 – Or Lola, or Reynard…

      2. That is the camera pod not an element of the wing.

        1. I think it would still make more sense to put it on both sides. It sticks out like a sore thumb, less so if it was on both sides in the same position on both aerokits.

        2. Interesting. Guess that makes more sense than a single side wing element. Doesn’t help it look better though.

    2. I quite like it to be honest, it looks purposeful.

      1. yep they have noise of a V8, can travel right up the rear of each other, they all have the same horse power, just like everyone is screaming F1 should be like, but when presented with the end result they don’t like it…

        1. @lethalnz for the record, I NEVER liked Indycars. Always prefered F1, no matter how horrible and silent they might be compared to the american counterparts.

          Has nothing to do with me being a F1 fan. I’ve tried time and time again to watch Indycars but it’s just not for me.

          On the aesthetics side, it’s really each one opinion. This thing is plain horrible for me.

    3. @fer-no65 Don’t agree in the slightest. I think it looks streamlined, proportional and purposeful. I think it looks beautiful

  5. That elephant quote had to win the Caption Competition.

    I don’t get why Carmen Jorá is getting so much hype. The chances she actually gets to drive a Formula One car are lower than Max Chilton landing a seat at Mercedes. She’s outright terrible, her best finish in GP3 (in 3 years) being a 13th in 2012, but the next best is a couple of 17th finishes. She has finished 28th, 30th, and 29th in the 3 seasons she’s driven. She will never get a drive unless she can basically buy the team.

    Then again, smart move Lotus. Got everyone talking about the team without doing anything.

    1. Give a tabloid a good reason to showcast a good looking blonde and its an easy choice @casjo. Off course it seems Bernie is also very keen on showing her off. Agree with you (and more or less everyone else commenting) that she really does not have the pedigree.

      1. @bascb And when meanwhile other female candidates get past over who are somewhat qualified, Jorda cemments the idea that women don’t belong in the sport because she really only got there on beauty and money whilst I could list at least 500 drivers who deserve it more. If you ask me Jorda is doing worse for females in the sport than grid girls ever did.

        1. I don’t understand the Jorda bashing at all. I haven’t read the Sun article (no access), but I’ve read several articles she’s admitting she’s only there at Lotus to learn, learn and learn. She also advocates that women aren’t suppose to compete with men. I tend to agree. See what Williiiams is doing with Susan Wolff: they will never ever let her race. And she is quite good.

          So, Jorda is merely trying to use the momentum of attention, meanwhile preaching her thoughts about a F1 competition for women. Hopelfully it comes to that, I really would be interested in this.

        2. @xtwl On that note, Simona de Silvestro was 7th on the opening day of Indy 500 ;) practice (225.317mph)!

          1. @fastiesty Clearly the best out there, and by a considerable margin. A shame it did not work with Sauber.

        3. Talking about Jorda, I agree with what Lee McKenzie said about all this on the Motorsport Magazine podcast. Team makes her an offer. She accepts it and now people are blaming her – she’s a disgrace to F1. And nobody is saying bad things about Lotus.

          1. @lepondo I’m not blaming her. If I was in her position I might have done the same. She probably gets a proper payment, some attention and can go to all races.

            All that doesn’t make her qualified to be in that position though. She indeed did nothing wrong accepting the offer and I agree Lotus saw a media opportunity and grabbed it.

            But I still stand by my point that she is doing more harm to female racers than she was back at the grid in GP3.

        4. @PorscheF1, you do not understand about equality at all, it has to start somewhere, this is more a symbolic gesture, and it does great things for young girls in the boys club of motorsport who want to compete in junior formula but are discriminated sexually to have a female in the top of motorsports, even if only symbolically for now. just get over it already and get off your high horse! she is not hurting anyone, lotus is not hurting anyone, but men like you ARE hurting by argueing the wrong argument. in your comment “Jorda cemments the idea that women don’t belong in the sport because she really only got there on beauty and money” you have exposed yourself, firstly you have made your point of only considering her because of looks and not who she is or if she has talent. and secondly nearly every f1 driver is in f1 because of money. she deserves to be there as much as max verstappen does. i can imagine your outcry if they let a 16yo girl into f1, but the boys club only did a bit of bashing for has lack or experience, and none because of his looks. get it yet?

          1. Although I will agree that it must start somewhere introducing women into the sport. I don’t agree with either Jorda or Wolff being the answer to that. They have raced multiple seasons with no results at all. That is obvious. Giving someone a seat based on gender doesn’t sound like equality to me at all. Hamilton didn’t get his seat because he was ethnically different. He was a champion in multiple series. Why bring in someone with limited talent to suggest this when you could actually bring someone in who is worthy. Actually take a step forward with it instead of setting yourself up for failure. Unfortunately I can not name women any right now who are worthy but there are some out there I’m sure. I will agree with the fact that pay drivers are a burden to the integrity of the sport. But Niki Lauda was a pay driver when we got his first F1 seat and we know how that went. I myself didn’t think Verstappen was worthy but the kid won 10 out of 33 starts in Formula 3. Also with less experience in a single seater than the two women I have mentioned. You need women in the garage like Claire Williams who I think has done rather well with her job at Williams. They are competitive again for the most part and she appears to know what she is doing. Also, Bottas goes down and Wolff doesn’t get a call to possibly race in Australia even with what the rules say about drivers having to run a session before qualifying. Then Williams signs Sutil the next day. How does that look for confidence in Wolff from the Williams camp?

          2. Wolff and Jorda are not good enough for F1 if but they are some of the best in the pool of women that race, that pool is very small as very few try. If we waited for a genuine worthy talent to come through they may never be a woman associated with F1 as the pool of women is small the odds of an F1 grade driver is very hard. If Wollf and Jorda help young women be inspired to try motorsport they are growing the pool of women in racing and there will be a greater chance down the line of a genuine f1 grade female driver. I see it as a fair attempt to associate Wolff and Jorda with F1 at this stage.

          3. @kpcart I think you may be the one having difficulty understanding equality here – by promoting a good-looking woman over many highly qualified women, all that young girls are going to see from it is a confirmation of society’s viewpoint that it doesn’t matter how talented a woman is, but rather only how attractive she is to the men in positions of power to promote her. That is a major problem. It is not equality, or “a start”, or anything even remotely resembling it.

  6. Yeah no thanks Iran, already too many races inside the Islamic thunderdome for my liking.

  7. …Iran!..Bernie will jump on that!..who’s next?..North Korea?..Bernie and Kim hugging each other! that’s a sight I’d love to see!

    1. How about a late season “axis of evil” swing of races?

      1. – Russia
        – Iran
        – North Korea…although Kim Jong Un will probably want to rig the race so he wins…
        – Russia again…because Putin says so

    2. I don’t think Iran is as bad as the US and other countries portrays them. Apparently they have very good infrastructure and people are surprisingly wealthy there (someone who went there told me this)… I’m not defending them, but I don’t want to judge a country on what I hear in the media, especially when I know very little about the country. Obviously I don’t want a race there very much, but we have a race in Bahrain and Qeshm Island looks very beautiful.

      1. Indeed, I have friends in Iran and it really is not as bad as the US in particular portrays them (although I haven’t actually been there). Yes it is relatively wealthy there for the common people.

        Anyway, we have a race in Bahrain and UAE so do we really need a third in the region?

        The only country in the Middle East (world, really) I would vehemently object to F1 going there is Israel.

  8. There will never be F1 in Iran. Why? Because the BBC isn’t allowed there, plus I imagine a whole lot of other Western networks. End of story.

    1. Very interesting to add what the Australian Government has said about Iran:
      Travel Advice for Iran
      – Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

      •Travel Advice-
      Reconsider your need to travel (orange alert)
      •There is a threat of terrorist attack against Western interests in Iran.

      If the Australian Government is saying western interests are at threat in Iran, it means that a F1 race is a quite high threat! Crazy isn’t it?

      1. not far from what they have for Bahrain, is it?

        And if Iran is willing to put money behind it, I doubt Bernie would not take the offer.

        1. The same level for Bahrain but Russia is higher, with Sochi being 50km from a no go zone. Bernie would definitely take the offer, all he sees is money.

    2. The BBC aren’t allowed inside Iran because they broadcast the coded instructions for British and American special forces to launch Operation Ajax, which lead to the democratic leaders of Iran being deposed and replaced by the Shah, which lead to years of oppression and suffering for the people of Iran.

    3. As long as Sky is allowed no issue. BBC have a 50 percent chance of not showing a race anyway by the time this comes around they will not have highlights as they need the sports budget for a 2 week tennis tournament, indoor bowls, skiing, rowing etc

    4. TEN Network hosts won’t go to any other race besides Australia as they are in a studio in Sydney but we have Tom Clarkson and James Allen reporting at the track and host highlight package. If there is a new race Ten will show it live when it is a new track.

  9. Can someone fill me in on the elephant reference?

    1. Daniel (@dstaplet13)
      4th May 2015, 5:01

      Apparently he went on a trip to hunt Elephants in 2012

    2. Yeah, as @dstaplet13 mentions, there was a bit of a scandal when he got himself hurt in an Elephant hunting incident a few years back, just when the country was in need of its leaders too @stigsemperfi.
      It greatly hurt his image a lot, and probably played a significant role in his decision to step down.

      1. Ah. That makes sense.

  10. Daniel (@dstaplet13)
    4th May 2015, 4:58

    I certainly hope Van Der Garde can get into DTM or WEC (or perhaps even another racing series), he should not give up his racing career because of what happened to him in F1.

    1. pxcmerc (@)
      4th May 2015, 6:16

      there are better things you can do with your life besides entertaining people. As for the Iran hate, it’s not terribly surprising, although I doubt many of the people who lash out at Iranian affairs know anything about the history of the region for the past century.

  11. …The circuit better not be a tilkedrome.

    I mean, is it that hard to just hire the chaps who came up with the modifications resulting in Silverstone’s current track instead of Tilke?

    1. That would be Populous you are referring to.

      The catch is, Populous have only worked on two tracks – Silverstone and Dubai Autodrome, and they only had minor involvement in the latter given that most of the circuit itself was designed by Apex Circuit Design – as their main speciality is in designing stadiums and arenas, not circuits.

      Bearing that in mind, I have my doubts as to whether, if they were commissioned to design a full circuit from scratch, they’d have the capacity to do so in house – it is one thing to modify an existing circuit, but a much more challenging thing to create an entirely new one from scratch. Added to that, the fact that the “Silverstone Wing” was recently damaged in high winds won’t have burnished their credentials.

      There aren’t that many specialists working to produce circuits – apart from Tilke, the only other major player I can think of is Apex Circuit Design, who did the aforementioned Dubai Autodrome and have had some involvement in Sepang too. That said, the only F1 circuit that they have tried to bid for recently was Singapore, which in the end neither Tilke nor Apex won (most people call that circuit a Tilkedrome, but in fact KBR were the ones behind the final design).

      Part of the reason is that there was one particular circuit that they worked on – I cannot remember the name unfortunately – where the project overran quite badly, both in terms of delivery time and budget, which seems to have pretty much wrecked any chances of working on an F1 circuit since then.

      We might complain about Tilke’s circuits, but from the point of view of a client, Tilke and his company offer a number of positives – his company has proven they can deliver complex project on time and to budget, produces “turn key” operations that are immediately ready to use and are finished to a high standard, all of which would be positives for those wanting to build a circuit. I can’t think of many other parties which can do that, which probably explains why, overall, Tilke is generally the party that is given the most work on new circuits.

    2. To be honest I don’t think Tilke is the problem. I would assume it’s the FIA dictating that the tracks has to be a certain way. Long straights followed by slow corners to facilitate overtaking, around 5km in length. Avoid fast corners, etc. Tilke has made some good circuits, not for F1 in recent times though

  12. Le sigh— Carmen Jorda is already making me cry, and she is making Susie Wolf looks like a capable driver and good embassador for women in sport. That´s how sad this situation is.

    But I guess the way the article refer to her with those “names” is not entirely her fault. Is the media reporter and editorial department.

  13. This is a Public Service Announcement on behalf of the Racing Sim Enthusiasts Awareness Group.

    Today, you can get 80% discount on a bundle of SimBin racing sims on Steam for one day only. Some good single-seater and F1 style cars in there too.

  14. If you can have a race in Bahrain or in Russia with Qatar being negotiated as well, no reason why Iran can’t be entertained. How are they any bad than the others mentioned is a mystery.

    1. If I am not wrong, Bahrain has veto rights in the zone. With that in mind, Bahrain accuses Iran of instigating the local protest based on the fact that majority in Bahrain is Shia and ruling family is Sunni.
      With this situation Bahrain will never allow it.
      Not even money can change this situation.

  15. lockup (@)
    4th May 2015, 9:16

    I think I approve of F1 going to Iran. One thing that does not seem to work with these oppressive regimes is leaving them to it, so I think it’s good to mix with them. F1 is definitively Western, and an influx of tourists and media can only help draw the Iranians towards a more inclusive culture.

    1. I would generally agree with that as long as they improve their international relations with Europe and the US. I think there would be far too much negative media about F1 if it went to Iran in the current situation.

  16. I have a good friend from Iran and whilst everyday people like her and her friends are nice I don’t think that Iran is the place to hold a gp, there have already been huge question marks over why Bahrain, Russia and also China have races when the human rights records are how they are. Someone mentioned F1 as being western. whilst motor racing and F1 started over here most team ownership and background money is mostly eastern and oil based, even Mclaren is a mostly Bahraini owned team. f1 should be going back to France and Germany, even India and Korea, certainly not Iran, the country is in dire financial straits, the moment any restrictions have been lifted they pump the money back into weapons not back into the economy.

    1. how much do those 4 countries spend on weapons?? in the middle east, i dont blame them, they need to have a strong presence. you have to go past the money, and think of the people and the sport. to have an f1 event in such a country is great on so many social levels. personally im sick of France and Germany, they had their opportunities and put on crap races at crap circuits. France has its world famous lemans event, they dont need f1. Germany already has a WRC rally and DTM. also the Monaco GP is essentially France also.

  17. I wouldn’t step foot in that place if I was a F1 driver and its crazy to even consider bringing that level of risk to the calender especially when we have quality circuits in better places to consider.

    1. No worse than stepping into Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Russia or even Brazil for that matter.

      1. or USA, given the amount of gun murders there every day.

      2. @davef1: As you say, Brazil has presents a high risk to the engineers and drivers – Rosberg was robbed of all of his luggage about three or four years ago, whilst both Button and Hamilton were subjected to an attempted carjacking around the same time.

        Equally, we are currently scheduled to have a race in Mexico City which, although being one of the safer parts of Mexico, nevertheless still struggles with police corruption and drug fuelled gang warfare.

        Hungary is, to a lesser extent, also a little unstable these days due to the authoritarian policies of Fidesz, which has drawn discontent from the wider populace that has resulted in occasional protests and riots. There is also the rapidly growing (circa 28% of the vote) Jobbik party, an ultra-nationalist Hungarian party accused of virulent racism and anti-Semitism that has organised gangs to “supervise”, as they put it, the Roma population in Hungary.

        That’s not to say that a race in Iran would not be objectionable – rather, it is to say that there are a number of historic venues where you could also raise questions about how safe the drivers and engineers really are, not to mention questioning the morality of visiting those venues.

  18. Another race in the middle of the desert with grandstands full of empty seats, oh joy.

    Good bye Monza. Whose next, Silverstone?

  19. An Iranian F1 – well I don’t foresee any problems there at all… Seriously though while Iran may get more bad press than it deserves sometimes, it also brings a lot on itself.
    Based on stuff in my day job (reporting on shipping) even Bernie might be biting off more than he can chew with that idea.
    Last week Iran fired at and detained a vessel Maersk Tigris in an international shipping lane hired by the world’s largest international shipping company Maersk Line over a 10 year old legal claim. Its in against the international laws of sea, ship arrest laws and pretty much anything else I can think of related in one of the world’s most global industries. Its been on CNN, BBC, WSJ etc and is a diplomatic incident with the US re free passage of vessels. Our own latest story is here just for illustration of something from a niche industry – could you imagine what F1 could get itself into?

    1. A bit like how Russia goes about the artic then @wombat1m!

  20. I’m afraid of driving an F1 car… Yesterday I saw the Honda kit and now I see the Chevy one. I think the difference between the 2 kits shouldn’t be as great as with the road course kit, still I think Nick Wirth managed to botch another project.

  21. Just what the fans always wanted, an Iranian GP. I’m sure we can find some historic European race to axe in order to make room.

  22. As long as Hermann Tilke isn’t designing the circuit, that is all that matters really.

  23. I’m not glad to this plan. It means that the European Grand prix’s number will reduce again.

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