JANUARY 25, 1999
No Argentine Grand Prix
ARGENTINA's Ministry of Sport has announced that there will not be a Grand Prix in Buenos Aires this year. There had been hopes that a race could be staged on March 28 but after a meeting between the organizers and Paddy McNally, who represented Bernie Ecclestone's Formula 1 Holdings, no financial agreement could be reached. McNally told Argentine reporters that the race was "not financially viable".
The race has been in financial trouble for some months with the F1 circus demanding that the circuit be upgraded and the race organizers struggling to find the money to do the work and to pay the fee demanded by F1. It had been hoped that the Argentine government would help out but money has failed to materialize. The race became very unlikely following the devaluation of the Brazilian real, and there has been much talk of the Argentine peso being dropped and Argentina using the US dollar as its currency.
It looks likely, therefore, that there will be only 16 races in the 1999 World Championship calendar. China remains as a reserve race with the vague possibility of a date at the end of the year. It is difficult to see how the Chinese GP can fit into the calendar unless it is added at the end, possibly with a November 14 date. This would not be popular with the F1 teams.
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