FEBRUARY 9, 2005
Hasta la vista Mexico!
Plans for Mexico to hold a Grand Prix in 2006 appear to have hit problems with construction work on the project being held up by disputes over whether or not the land can be used for a racing circuit. A site had been chosen at Mantarraya but construction which was due to start in January has been blocked because of legal disputes. The land has not been given the necessary planning permission because of environmental issues which need to be addressed by the local government. The plan is backed by the government of the state of Quintana Roo and by the federal ministry of tourism but nothing can happen unless the necessary bureaucracy is sorted out.
The Mexicans signed a five-year deal with Formula One Management last year, to host races between 2006 and 2010. Their aim was to boost tourism in Cancun, which badly hit by the decline in the number of Americans travelling internationally since the terrorist attacks of 2001.
The Mantarraya circuit was to be built on a 940-acre site just 15 minutes from Cancun's main hotel area and the plan was for the facility to also be used for concerts, golf and tennis competitions and exhibitions. There were also plans for a casino. It was estimated that the project would cost around $200m.
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