Argentina F1 return waits on political outcome

Source:Reuters Published: 2015-11-6 5:03:03

Bernie Ecclestone wants to take Formula One back to Argentina but is waiting to see who wins presidential elections later this month, according to Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi.

Gastaldi, an Argentine whose family was involved in promoting the last Grand Prix in Buenos Aires in 1998, said his brother Marcos had been discussing a new proposal with Ecclestone.

"Bernie had this idea to wait and see what happens with the election which is in a couple of weeks. So we might have a good chance," he told Reuters at last weekend's Mexican Grand Prix. "Some homework is being done this year and we might be able to work things out if it's the right environment. We have a good group behind us [so] that if Bernie is happy with the new official environment it could work out."

Opposition candidate Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires, is standing against ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli in the November 22 runoff to replace outgoing leftist President Cristina Fernandez.

Ecclestone confirmed to Reuters separately that talks were ongoing. "It can happen. Not will, can," he said.

Argentina in 1953 became the first country outside Europe to host a championship Grand Prix, excluding the Indianapolis 500 which counted as a round despite few Formula One drivers attending, and hosted 20 races.

The local hero and five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio, who died in 1995, won four times in a row between 1954 and 1957 at a time when the Grand Prix was heavily supported by populist president Juan Peron.

The race dropped off the calendar after 1981, with Britain and Argentina at war over the disputed Falklands Islands (Malvinas), but returned in 1995 with Britain's Damon Hill winning twice and Michael Schumacher triumphant in 1998.

The only current Formula One races held in Latin America are Brazil - the next round on the calendar - and Mexico which returned this year for the first time since 1992.

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