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Iran reveals plans to build Formula 1 circuit at Qeshm Island

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Fox Sports has reported this week that Formula 1 could be set for another race in the Middle East should Iran’s new plans to lure the world championship by building a world-class circuit come to fruition.

The Iranian government has announced plans to construct a Formula 1 circuit at Qeshm Island, a small island off the country’s southern coast in the Strait of Hormuz. Dubai is only a few kilometres across the water to its south, while F1 race hosts Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and MotoGP race host Qatar, are nearby.

Vice President and head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organisation, Masoud Soltanifar, said during an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency on a recent visit to the island:

Qeshm Island has the potential to become one of the world’s most beautiful Formula 1 destinations.

Iran has so many young people with an increasing tendency for driving. Formula 1 has a great future in Iran.

This is not the first time the Middle Eastern nation has broached plans to build a world-class race circuit with the aim of hosting an F1 race. In 2011, state officials announced plans to build an $85m development on the outskirts of the Iranian capital, Tehran, called the iLand Race Resort, also featuring a golf course, water parks, and homes for 50,000 people.

At the time, F1’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said that there was no space on the calendar for new races and that, in any case, “I don’t think Iran is top of our list”.

But there are reports that F1 chiefs are able to increase the calendar to a maximum of 25 races without needing permission from world motorsport’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

“The development is not widely known,” Forbes reported. “Forbes understands that since 2013, the F1 Group has been able to put up to 25 races on the calendar without needing to get clearance from the FIA. The draft calendar must still be submitted to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council but it only makes changes in exceptional circumstances.”

The sport would still need the support of the teams to expand the calendar beyond its current 19-20 rounds, but not the majority support it once needed.

“In 2012 (the teams) each signed new commercial agreements which give more flexibility to this,” Forbes adds. “They state that majority consent from three of the top teams — Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull Racing — is required to increase the calendar beyond 20 races. It seems to be only a matter of time before this happens.”

Source: http://www.foxsports.com.au/motor-sport/formula-one/formula-1-iran-reveals-plans-to-build-f1-circuit-at-qeshm-island-say-sport-has-great-future-in-country/story-e6frf3zl-1227333815266

Dorna Sports and Circuit of Wales sign historic MotoGP™ agreement

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Collaboration will begin in 2015 with next year’s Grand Prix, which could be staged at an alternative British venue.

 

The Circuit of Wales is set to host the British round of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship until 2024 after agreeing a five-year contract with the option for a further five-year extension with the Championship’s commercial rights holders, Dorna Sports S.L.

The agreement will bring the British Motorcycle Grand Prix to the innovative new Circuit of Wales near Ebbw Vale. The development is a flagship for the regeneration of the Blaenau Gwent area in a project that includes a focus on youth employment, education, academy structures and an investment in motorsport, one of the UK’s key industrial sectors.

Michael Carrick, Chief Executive of the Circuit of Wales, said:

Our agreement with Dorna is a significant landmark in the development of the Circuit of Wales. MotoGP is the pinnacle of global motorcycle racing and expectations within the series and of its millions of fans worldwide are for a truly world class event at iconic and state-of-the art venues. We look forward to meeting those expectations when we welcome MotoGP to Wales from 2016 and we are now working closely with Dorna and the FIM, MotoGP’s governing body, with regard to the 2015 British round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, the Chief Executive Officer of Dorna Sport S.L., commented:

We are excited to be working closely with the Circuit of Wales after being involved with the project for more than four years. The commitment to MotoGP is obviously a catalyst to a wide range of exciting projects aimed at contributing to the regeneration of the area, while we work together with MotoGP governing body the FIM in relation to the full homologation of the circuit.

The commitment to youth, to employment opportunities for the area, to its academy plans – linked to our own FIM CEV Repsol series – and the general investment in motorsport infrastructure will ensure very exciting times are ahead for Blaenau Gwent and the surrounding areas.

The Circuit of Wales is a £315m project to develop a purpose-built ‘hub’ for the multi-billion pound British motorsport industry around a state-of-the art track, Britain’s first purpose-built motorcycle Grand Prix circuit, with unrivalled facilities for visiting fans. Sitting on the fringe of the picturesque Brecon Beacons, the Circuit of Wales will be a major catalyst for business, leisure and tourism as it spearheads the regeneration of the Blaenau Gwent region.

The first phase of the multi-purpose development will be the construction of an international specification motor racing circuit and world championship facilities, hotel, commercial and retail complexes. The facility is designed to host international motorsport events and will be a centre for motorsport-related industries.

Plans include a 3.5-mile track that takes advantage of the natural flow of the unique topography of the area, an indoor academy training facility, motocross, trials and enduro venues, an international kart circuit and driver training facilities, as well as a variety of leisure and cultural amenities.

The automotive park will be one of the world’s leading sustainable developments, targeting the growth of low-carbon industries and events. It will be a hub for research and development companies that are seeking to push the boundaries in environmental technology and energy solutions. The park will showcase the latest technologies that capture and generate energy for the facility.

The race academy and training facility to develop future Welsh and UK talent will work in unison with the motor racing circuit and with Dorna. Commercial, industrial and leisure developments will be at the heart of the project, providing opportunities for the growth of advanced engineering, technology, education and sustainable transport-related businesses.

Councillor Hedley McCarthy, the Leader of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, commented:

On behalf of the community in Blaenau Gwent, we are absolutely delighted that Dorna is bringing the British Motorcycle Grand Prix to the Circuit of Wales. The MotoGP series is an amazing championship that has provided a stimulant and confidence for the growth of infrastructure in a number of similar areas to ours around the world in recent years. We look forward to welcoming the teams, riders, officials, media and fans to Blaenau Gwent.

Dorna currently stages 18 MotoGP rounds annually across four continents, cumulatively drawing around three million fans to the trackside. TV coverage of MotoGP events extends to more than 200 countries and territories that receive live or same-day delayed broadcasts, reaching more than 337 million households worldwide on 60 networks.

Dorna has been involved in motorcycle sport since 1992 and in 2014 is organising five championships – including the Eni FIM Superbike World Championship – in a total of 53 events across 17 countries and over a ten-month period of competition within the calendar year.

More than 25 experienced external consultancy firms have been brought on board to advise on the design, planning, project management, costing, construction, marketing, financing and other elements of the development, including Arup and Davis Langdon. With Populous having worked on the masterplan.

Further information is available at: http://www.circuitofwales.com