JANUARY 9, 2009
Spain building another F1 testing circuit
There is no shortage of test tracks in Spain and Portugal, indeed the major problem now that F1 teams are not going to be testing in-season is that these tracks all need to find alternative sources of income.
The latest project is one that has been in the pipeline for years. It is called Motorland Aragon and is being built by enthusiastic locals who for many years ran a street circuit in the nearby city of Alcaniz. The race in Alcaniz dates back to 1965, at which point racing in Spain was very rudimentary. Safety concerns meant that the track had to be reduced in size in the early 1990s which meant that it could not develop for international events and in 2003 the race died out. The organisers however set their sights on building a permanent replacement and the plans call for an F1-standard track of 3.3-miles in the length, plus a number of others circuits for karts and offroad activities. There is to be a Technology Park, designed for motor industry research and development work and a public area which will feature hotels, shopping, a sports research centre, a business centre and even a "Experience Park" and exhibition centre.
The facility is being built on 900 acres of land, just three miles outside Alcaniz. The city is located around 50 miles from Zaragoza and within easy reach of Barcelona and Valencia. Studies suggest that there are 20m people within 185 miles of the circuit.
The circuit has been designed by Hermann Tilke in conjunction with Foster & Partners and Pedro de la Rosa has been working as a consultant on the project.
The track will host a round of the Renault World Series late in 2009 when it is ready for business.
The track faces stiff opposition for the testing dollars from Barcelona, Jerez, Valencia, Portugal's Portimao circuit in the Algarve, and the Monteblanco circuit, located between Jerez and Portimao. Teams have also been testing on an airfield in Menorca.