More about racing in Switzerland

In March last year Ulrich Giezendanner, a member of the Nationalrat, the national council of Switzerland, proposed a modification to the law to allow motor racing competitions to be held in Switzerland. His amendment, which was supported by 82 other members of the Nationalrat, proposed that Switzerland authorise the construction of a Formula 1 track, arguing that such an enterprise would greatly benefit one of the country's poorer regions by providing jobs and would give the Swiss tourist industry a much-needed boost. The proposal went to the Nationalrat's transport commission in February and this body ruled that a general ban on circuit racing in Switzerland was unrealistic in the modern world, noting that the ban dated back to a decision after the Le Mans disaster in 1955 and noting that the safety at race tracks nowadays is completely different to the 1950s. The commission voted 14 to 8 in favour of the amendment with one abstention, the minority opposed to the idea for environmental reasons.

The next step is to produce a draft law which will then be debated by both the Nationalrat and the Council of States. If both approve the change could go ahead although if 50,000 demand a nationwide referendum that process could also become part of the law-making process. There is already talk about converting old airbases, of which there are plenty. But Formula 1 team boss Peter Sauber remains pessimistic that there would ever be a Grand Prix in Switzerland.

"There are lot of people in Switzerland who are opposed to anything," he said. "There might be a race track for Swiss events and maybe international races but I do not think there will be a Grand Prix."

Bernie Ecclestone may disagree as Switzerland is a perfect location for a race at the moment as it is located in Europe, without being in the European Union.

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