Iran to build $85m F1 track UPDATE (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has played down reports formula one could be headed to Iran in the near future.
Local media reports this week revealed that officials are building a $85 million track south of capital Tehran, with construction to "follow all F1 standards".
A subsequent media release clarified that the track will only be seeking Grade 2 certification by the FIA initially, which is not sufficient to host a grand prix.
But arguably the biggest obstacle is the country itself, with Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary arguing that "it is difficult to conceive of a less likely venue" for F1.
The Daily Express' Bob McKenzie agreed that the thought of an Iranian grand prix "under the present repressive regime" is "bizarre".
F1 chief executive Ecclestone said: "We have three or four countries already waiting for a race. I don't think Iran is top of our list."09/07/11 (GMM) Iran has emerged as the unlikely latest prospective destination for formula one.
The local Mehr news agency said officials have decided to build a circuit 35 kilometers south of the capital Tehran, with Apex Circuit Design assigned the contract.
"Planning and construction would follow all formula one standards," Mehr, reporting that the track will be the first of its kind in Iran, quoted Apex's Martin Baerschmidt as saying.
"We were really surprised after seeing the landscape," he said.
The circuit will reportedly be inaugurated within six months, with the cost totaling $85 million.
The project's executive manager Alireza Sabbagh added: "Iran has so many young people and there is an increasing tendency for them to drive. Formula one has a great future in the Asian country."
Oil-rich Iran is bordered by Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.