Our F1 dream on track for Tenerife

THE likes of F1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could be heading our way in the next few years – if plans for an international motorsport circuit come to fruition.

The ambitious project, involving grandstands to seat 30,000 spectators and access approach roads in the Atogo’s Los Duques area within the municipality of Granadilla, has been mooted by Tenerife Cabildo, which has put the whole scheme out to tender.

The bidding process involves one company winning a contract for 40 years to provide a two part scheme. The first part involves obtaining funding and then the construction of the circuit this includes:- grandstands, pit lanes heli-pads etc.

The second part sees investment into access and infrastructure surrounding the track, again this involves the winning company providing investment and completion of the project.

Those interested will have four months to respond to the tender upon which the project will begin in the first quarter of 2013.

It will take up to two years for the circuit and surroundings to be up and running. The Cabildo hope that the track will be operational in 2015.

All that remains is for the Cabildo to tempt a company to organise and run the entire project, for which it would have to pay around 30 million euros for a 40-year concession.

Plans have been drawn up for the track (pictured) in consultation with the designers of Formula One’s Catalunya Circuit Montmelo inBarcelona. And it conforms to F1 standards, as do all the other requirements, including a pit lane, medical facilities, access, etc.

On paper, it looks as though our government is in fantasy land, but officials are now making plans to sound out the respective motorsport bodies for approval to run international car and motorcycle racing

In fact, the idea was first proposed some 17 years ago. Private-sector funding, which will run into billions of euros, it will be sought and, says the Cabildo, there is already interest from Germany and the mega-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The presentation ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries, including Cabildo President Ricardo Melchior; Minister of Development Projects Eduardo Pintado; Granadilla Mayor Jaime González Cejas; Benito Rodriguez, president of the Federation Interinsular Motorsports of Santa Cruz; Vicente Gonzalez, President of the Federation of Motorcycling Canaria, and Juan Farizo, Tenerife Royal Automobile Club President.

An upbeat Melchior said: “We need to look optimistically to the future, and we have the ideal conditions to move forward.

“We have the best all-round climate in Europe, with 148 direct flights connecting Tenerife to cities all over the world from the South airport, and a swift communications connection of fibre optics based in Granadilla.

“It is an opportunity to create jobs and wealth in the south ofTenerife, and it’s a good thing for our people.”

The Cabildo chief added: “We also have thousands of people inTenerifewho are great motorsport enthusiasts, which gives us strength and hope to overcome all barriers.

“I want to thank the people who have contributed towards the project, such as the late Adan Martin, and the councillors who have worked so hard towards making theTenerifecircuit a reality.”

Development Project Minister Pintado said: “This project is for real, and I thank the support of President Ricardo Melchior and all the directors.

“The circuit can be a huge help as complementary leisure tourism to the island. My greatest hope is that potential investors are Canarians.”

The FIA is the world motorsport governing body, and a security spokesman for the organisation told Canarian Weekly last night (Thursday) that to obtain FIA accreditation, the Cabildo would have to send a dossier of its project for approval.

Optimistic plans, and there may be critics out there who think that a project of this scale is far too ambitious in such austere times.

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