FEBRUARY 1, 2006
A new Spanish racing circuit?
There have been suggestions in recent days of a new Formula 1-standard racing circuit in Spain. It seems from our investigations that this is a little exaggerated at the moment although the town of Tineo, located 20 miles to the west of Fernando Alonso's home town of Oviedo has grand plans for a "Motor City" which would include a track on which F1 cars could test and a motorsport business park. This has the backing of the Ayuntamiento de Tineo (the city council) and the regional authorities which are headed by Vicente Alvarez Areces, the president of the Principality of Asturias. The idea has been around since 2003 when the local automobile club approached the government with the idea of building a facility. They had secured the help of engineer Jaume Noguet who built the Barcelona and Valencia circuits and were planning a 2.7-mile track in an old quarry. The final plan however is rather less grand than envisaged with the first stage of the project being a karting facility of around 0.6-mile with a budget of only around $9m. The automobile club and the opposition politicians are up in arms (an election is coming) because they expected a much bigger project and much more money from the regional government. The government says that this first stage is just the beginning and that there is room for expansion later.
It is worth noting that another racing circuit project at Cerceda, near Coruna has been kicking around for 15 years but has never come to fruition and plans for a track at La Beneza, which would see the costs shared by the local authorities of the provinces of Castile and Leon, seems to be struggling to find the cash needed. This project was hoping to get government backing but according to local politicians the government in Madrid seems to have forgotten about it.
Thus it seems there are no shortage of plans, particularly in the north west of the country where there are no such facilities, but whether any of these will ever become a reality remains to be seen.
The region has not a racing circuit since the 1920s when the Lasarte circuit, which ran on roads in the countryside behind the town of San Sebastian, was operational. For a time this was one of the most important races in the Grand Prix calendar.
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