Buenos Aires could use long circuit for possible 2019 return – Whiting

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FIA race director Charlie Whiting says the Buenos Aires circuit in Argentina could be renovated to join the 2019 F1 calendar.

Whiting visited the track recently to advise on what changes would be needed in order for it to hold another Argentinian Grand Prix.

“I was asked to go to see what would need to be done to bring it back up to Formula One standards,” Whiting told Canal F1 Latam in Italy. “I had a good look around the track, wrote a comprehensive report about what I felt needed to be done.”

F1 last raced in Argentina in the nineties
“Now of course it’s up to the potential promoters to see if they can actually get that done.”

The Autodromo de Buenos Aires Ocsar y Juan Galvez has had three spells as a world championship venue. It held seven races between 1953 and 1960, during which time local hero Juan Manuel Fangio won four consecutive races at the track.

The track returned to the calendar in 1972 and two years later was extended to include a long, high-speed loop around a lake. This was last used in 1981 and when the track returned for a four-race spell in 1995 a shorter layout was used again.

However Whiting suggested the longer configuration would be revived if F1 returns.

“As you’d expect with any track that hasn’t had Formula One for 20 years there are a few things to be done,” he said. “But nothing massive. You’d expect it to be resurfaced, you’d need probably new walls and things like that put in it.”

“But I think the main thing would be to make the track more interesting by using some of the old, very long circuit. And I think that’s what would make it really a super track for F1 if it can be done. The plan, or the proposed plan, is to make a much faster circuit than we used back in the late nineties.”

Whiting added that if the race promoters were given a green light, “I’m sure they could have a race in 2019.”

Buenos Aires track configurations

Autodromo Buenos Aires 1981
Autodromo Buenos Aires 1998

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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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38 comments on “Buenos Aires could use long circuit for possible 2019 return – Whiting”

  1. Bwoah! I should be booking a ticket asap. I hope a 1981 likeish layout.

  2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    5th September 2017, 11:53

    Don’t tease us.

  3. The 1981 layout looks quite cool, whereas the 1998 layout was terrible. It was basically a race circuit for gokarts and touring cars. Unacceptable if you ask me.

    I don’t know how the current economic situation in the country is for people to afford attending an F1 race, and they might not have had an F1 driver in a long time, but otherwise I’m sure the nation of Juan Manuel Fangio is passionate enough about motorsport to make it a venue worth organizing.

    South America and Formula 1 always seemed a great fit together.

  4. The country is flat broke. They have corruption issues and they alternate between hating Brits and indifferent to Brits because .. Las Malvinas. I don’t see how they can afford the hosting fee for an F1 race, let alone the work required to bring the track up to F1 standard. Let’s face it, investors tend to be wary when countries default on their debts. The risk/reward factor goes the wrong way.

    And what happens if the political situation deteriorates again? A bunch of UK based F1 teams suddenly become a tempting target and it wouldn’t be the first time national passions were inflamed to disguise political incompetence.

    1. you’re spot on about our country being broke, and that shouldn’t be a problem, if only the private sector funds this race, but you’re wide off the mark about our relationship with the british. We want malvinas because is our territory, but no one cares about them as much as you may think. And let’s not forget that our last goverment, allegedly less friendly to the british, was the one who started talks with Bernie to bring it back to a Mar del Plata street circuit.
      and another thing: Brazil has been a dangereous pressure cooker for a few years now, way more risky than Argentina, and still F1, Olympics and Football world cup didn’t hesitate to go there…

      1. Its called the Falklands Island!

        1. “Malvinas” is the Spanish name for the Falklands Islands. God almighty.

      2. I think you’ll find that the Falkland Isles are and will continue to be a British colony due there being vast oil deposits in the waters around them, and we have the military capabilities to keep them our territory, the Argentinian Nation could of course attempt another maneuver to take them by force but I have to say that I do not fancy your chances.

        1. Both countries have valid claims to the islands – UK from the fact that the vast majority of islanders are essentially British and want to remain part of Britain, and Argentina for historical reasons and UN rules on a country’s sovereignty over its continental shelf and maritime territory. And of course, the potential for exploitable oil reserves serves only to make both countries want the islands more.

          One would hope that an equitable agreement with which all three parties – Argentina, UK, and the islanders themselves – can be happy, will be reached in due course, without resorting to the senseless waste of lives we saw in 1982. Infantile nationalistic tub-thumping is hardly going to help in this regard.

          Of course, if Argentina can sort its economy out, and the UK economy disappears down the plughole post-Brexit, a situation may soon arise under which the islanders believe they’ll be better off as part of Argentina.

          1. Well, even with all the brexit turmoil, y see it as a really long shot for the kelpers wanting to be part of Argentina…

    2. Broke, corruption, you mean like every second GP venue?

    3. .@franton the UK isn’t a target at all. That’s just fanatics saying “oh, don’t go to Argentina, they’ll stab you”. They won’t. We have the Dakar, the WRC, WTCC, Formula E and Moto GP, and as far as I know, nothing happened to anyone travelling here.

      The Malvinas is a very sensitive issue, yeah, but that doesn’t mean F1 coming here would put people in danger. That’s just stupid.

  5. Proposing using an interesting layout of a historic circuit which lies on the outskirts of an amazing city where you can eat great steaks and drink fantastic wine…make this race happen Liberty!

  6. Am I actually reading these words? Wow, this is fantastic to hear!

    I hope they leave some of the current gravel traps and kerbs too.

    1. I’ve just realised that the tighter version of turns 12 and 13 would probably make for better racing. Allowing the cars a longer run into 14 (the last proper corner) so there could be more overtaking there. Plus it has a really nice downhill which makes it more exciting.

  7. Positive modification: Moving the fast, hairpin right back by 100m to create necessary run-off
    Negative modification: Creating a chicane upon entering the ‘former’ fast, hairpin right alá Mexico.

    I suspect we’ll see the latter.

  8. I tested the old layout on rFactor some weeks ago when I read about the plans of reviving the Argentine GP. It’s a pleasure to drive and puts nearly all other new F1 tracks to shame. I really hope these plans come true.

    1. Has the halo been introduced to rFactor yet?

      1. Of course you can never be to safe. They also are looking into running the computers unplugged bc the risk of shock plugging them in

  9. The old circuit n° 15 could well be used. There’s plenty of room around the track to update it to modern standards. It’d so be spectacular.

    But it’s a pointless effort by the neoliberal government that’s ruling the country now. People flood the streets in protest but it’s alright, we’re getting F1. Its a private effort but with backing from the government. It a big point to make, making you look like all is well, yet behind your back the country is melting.

    As for the Brits, there are enough Brits around here living happily with no problem, regardless of the issue around the Malvinas. Not coming here because of fears of treats to British people would be as stupid as the decision to delay MotoGP’s return to Argentina because we decided to stop Repsol and the Spanish government sucking more money from YPF and they feared tension towards Spaniards.

    In any way. Its doable, but ridiculous. We don’t need it. Its not the right time, not the right thing to do.

    1. if Fenix Group puts all the money, i have no issue, but if a state penny is wasted in that, then i would be furious!

    2. Look at Bahrain. The big difference however is that Argentina actually has an interest and a history of racing and it’s own racing series.

  10. As long as it’s not that horrible little track they used in the 1990s, I’ll keep an open mind on what could be done. Might even end up with a half-decent circuit if they manage to keep Tilke and his cookie-cutter away.

  11. I can imagine Alonso in 7th starting the loop on lap 1 having made a blistering start, only to surrender 12 places on his way around, parking the car and setting up a deckchair with a glorious view of the lake…

  12. For as cool as it would be, There’s no way there not altering the long layout to slow the long sweeper down by either throwing in a chicane or altering it into 2 slower corners.

    I think with modern cars that long sweeper would probably be flat out (Was pretty much flat out last time it was used) & i’m not sure having the run from the exit of the 1st chicane all the way to the entry to the next would be that interesting anyway. If there going to alter it what you want is to create a corner that is still fast & maintains the character of the original but is something akin to Pouhon at Spa where drivers have to lift and downshift 1-2 gears so that driver skill/bravery is brought into the mix a bit more.

    For those less familiar with the long circuit, Here’s an OnBoard from the circuit in 1979:

    1. Fabulous! Thank you.

  13. Would be great to have Argentina back on the calendar. There was talk several years ago of having a GP at the picturesque Potrero de los funes, but that seemed to fizzle out. You do wonder though if this expedition of Charlie’s is the FIA preparing for life post-Brazil. Considering the financial struggles facing the Interlagos race promoters, it seems like the wind is blowing Argentina’s way as the sole host of a South American race. I like that they’re considering a long course, although the 1981 rendition doesn’t look near safe enough to be used today. A fast track would be a fitting replacement for Interlagos.

  14. Hard to chose. Normally, it’d be the 1981 layout, but I’m afraid it’s gonna be another Mercedes track. So, to increase the others’ chances, I’d go for the 1998 version. The problem with this layout is that I think overtaking will be hard, big chances to end up with really boring races.

  15. I’m all for it so long as it doesn’t mean the end for Sao Paulo

  16. The 1981 layout give us the pole position lap (Nelson Piquet) with an average speed of 209 kph, and in the same year Monza’s average speed for pole (Rene Arnoux) was 223 kph, only 14 kph less.
    Assuming the current performance of F1, in Buenos Aires 1981 track, it’s plausible to have, I can speculate, average speeds of nearly 240 kph. Massive! But I hope we can see that in 2019…

  17. I remember the Buenos Aires track from the Formula 1 97 game on the Playstation – A very tricky circuit to get a really good flying lap on. The corners tend to creep up on you, particularly the blind entry to the chicane near the end of the lap.

  18. fantastic circiut argentina in bahrein out

    1. For all its fault, Sakhir is actually not a bad tarck and has served up some cracking races recently. If it was me I’d get rid of Yas Marina, Sochi or Baku before I axed Bahrain.

      1. Agree, but not about Baku. Not yet.

  19. Wow. I hope this happens. Hopefully Liberty won’t charge an incredible amount of money for them to host it (they could lower the hosting prices for every race, quite honestly). The 1981 layout saw the cars flat for 45 seconds around that long loop.

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