Argentina F1 return waits on political outcome

Wed Nov 4, 2015 2:01pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - 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.

"The racetrack is there. Yes, it needs changes but if we manage to bring some comfort to Mr Ecclestone, and we manage also to give him all the guarantees from the government and promoter, it could happen soon."

Opposition candidate Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires and an advocate of free markets, is standing against ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli in the Nov. 22 run-off 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.   Continued...

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone speaks to the media at the paddock area ahead of the Russian F1 Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia, October 9, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov