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Ecclestone targeting Middle East Grand Prix

FORMULA ONE supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that the Middle East could host a Grand Prix and said he hopes to tie up a deal this year.

Ecclestone is keen to reduce the number of European events in Formula One and wants to take the sport into a new market. He believes the Middle East is his best option.

FIA vice-president Ecclestone held talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Raifk Harriri recently and, despite admitting that a number of countries are in the running for a potential Middle East Grand Prix, Ecclestone is said to want to hold an event in Beirut.

"There are quite a few countries we want to be in," Ecclestone said. "There is a good chance of a Grand Prix in the Middle East.

"It is nice, a new place for sponsors to come from, and nice for people to go to because new markets are opening up. During the year we will sort something out."

Last year, Ecclestone made trips to Egypt and Saudi Arabia and these two countries are also options to host an alternative Grand Prix if Ecclestone and FIA president Max Mosley do decide to take races away from Europe.

Mosley and Ecclestone could take races out of Europe as the European Union are investigating whether they have an unfair monopoly on the sport.

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