Mexican GP back on?

The Mexican Grand Prix could be back on despite the local authorities in Cancun saying they have not given the necessary planning permission for construction to begin on the 940-acre site at Mantarraya. The industrialist Jose Chapur Zahoul has since stepped in and says that he will switch the venue to an area south of the airport where there is not environmental issue and will place the track close to the Moon Palace hotel and golf resort which boasts more than 2000 rooms which he owns with his brother Roberto. The two men made their fortune in lotteries and have played an active role supporting electoral campaigns in the region, including that of the local governor Joaquin Hendricks. The hotel, which cost $60m to build, was opened in 1999.

Chapur Zahoul said that he will contribute of the land necessary for the project in order to avoid the dispute with the local government over environmental issues. The Grand Prix will be funded by the government of the state of Quintana Roo and by the federal ministry of tourism. 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.

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