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F1 to race in Cancun - Maybe UPDATE #15 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 traveling internationally since the terrorist attacks of 2001. Grandprix.com 02/10/05 (GMMF1.NET) 70's and 80's F1 driver Hector Rebaque has admitted that the planned 2006 Mexican grand prix is in trouble. A member of the organizing committee, the Mexican admitted that 'some problems' - relating, we revealed, to a land dispute - may delay or even call off the Cancun project. Another report said authorities have no more than a fortnight to find an alternate site, and FIA president Max Mosley agreed that the race 'doesn't look likely. ''But I wouldn't be surprised to see a race in Mexico ... before 2008,'' he told the media in London. Max, though, added that if Mexico can't get their act together, Narain Karthikeyan's F1 debut may reignite plans for an Indian grand prix. 02/10/05 As reported yesterday, the Mexican Grand Prix at Cancun scheduled to run from 2006 could be in doubt as land needed for the construction of the purpose built $80m facility remains unavailable for use. Reports from the French AFP agency this morning state that time is running out for the race organizers if they are to get the circuit built and ready for a race next year. "We have a 15 days deadline,” admitted the Secretary of State to tourism of the province, Dario Flota Ocampo. "If we do not manage to have the grounds to this date, the Grand Prix in 2006 will not be able to be held here, because we will not have time.” Last October Mexican officials announced a five year contract with Formula One Management to host a Grand Prix from 2006 to 2010 but legal disputes between the existing land owners in the province of Quintana Roo and the local authorities could take up to a year to reach a conclusion. With work yet to get underway, the chances of Mexico staging a Grand Prix in 2006 are diminishing quickly. 02/09/05 Plans to hold the Mexican Grand Prix at Cancun in 2006 have hit problems with French AFP sources stating that the land required for the building of the new state of the art facility is not available for construction work to begin.  On Tuesday Mexican authorities announced that a dispute between local authorities and the former land owners is ongoing with no resolution expected in the short or medium term.  The town of Latifa Muza Simon remains unavailable for development as planned with project promoters looking to purchase additional land but coming up against environmental issues which restrict which areas can be developed.  In October it was announced that Cancun would hold a Grand Prix from 2006 to 2010, bringing Formula One back to Mexico for the first time since Mexico City 1992.  French AFP 01/15/05 Reports here in Mexico say Mario Dominguez is worried about the delay in the start of construction of the track in Cancun.  Recall in this rumor AutoRacing1.com reported that the Cancun track will probably never happen.  Dominguez also said that if the race in Cancun never materializes, his ride in F1 will probably never happen.  Hector Serrano reporting from Mexico 11/06/04 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation,' and may soon go to 'false.'  Gerald Forsythe said in Mexico City that he asked the Mexican government for the $20 million necessary to build the track but the government said they did not have it.  When Forsythe informed Bernie Ecclestone, Bernie's response was "then leave Cancun for the tourists."  Unless Carlos Slim funds this deal, this project is dead.  Mark C. 10/27/04 In this SPEED TV article, Robin Miller writes, Speaking of Forsythe, he had a tentative plan to put on a Champ Car race in Cancun but now that popular Mexican city has signed up Formula 1 for five years on a new track that will cost $70 million. "I'll believe it when I see it," said Forsythe. "That city couldn't come up with $3 million for us, how can they afford F1? You know Bernie (Ecclestone) isn't spending any money." Psst, someone tell Mr. Forsythe to read AutoRacing1.com more carefully, for below in this rumor he would have read that Carlos Slim is behind the deal and Slim is one of the top 5 richest men in the world. You should also know that it was not really Forsythe that had the deal with Cancun, it was Ron Dickson's D3 Motorsports company that had the deal, but that deal was within the city limits of Cancun and the F1 deal is outside. At the time, Dickson had an exclusive deal with Forsythe. In reality we do not see this venue as being that successful. Few people live in Cancun and the race will have to rely on a lot of people coming great distances. F1 might do OK, but if the IRL were to go there it's likely a recipe for certain failure. Mark C. 10/26/04 Mexico's Caribbean beach resort of Cancun will host an annual Formula One race for at least five years starting in 2006, organizers said on Monday. The race will be held on a new $70 million track designed by German expert Hermann Tilke, who also designed Shanghai's circuit. "This track offers some very, very high speeds with sharp curves that make cars brake at speed," said Tilke's representative Dirk Schneider. He said the track would accommodate average speeds of 220 km/hour (125 mph) and top speeds of about 300 km/hour (186 mph). Mexico has not been part of the Formula One circuit for more than a decade since the last race in Mexico City in 1992. The Cancun site was chosen over at least five others, including one in Russia. The announcement comes as Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone appears to be looking for a new grand prix venue after falling out with the owners of Britain's Silverstone track. Ecclestone said last week that the Silverstone race, listed provisionally on the 2005 F1 calendar, would be axed after a breakdown in negotiations with the circuit's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club. Luis Silveira, whose company Grupo Promotor Inversiones Caribenos is involved in the Cancun deal, said the site was not being viewed as an alternative to Silverstone. "That is not the intention," he said. "The issue was not even raised of taking the place of existing dates. What was discussed and what came out was a new date, a new commitment, not a substitution." Ecclestone has said repeatedly that the sport's future lies increasingly in the developing world. Cancun and Formula One have agreed for the time being to run the race from 2006 to 2010, with an option to renew for another five years. ABS-CBN News 10/25/04 This Reforma article says, (loosely translated)This morning there was an official announcement in Cancun where the future race organizers and the Cancun government officials made official the five year contract with F1 starting in 2006. The governor of the state of Quintana Roo, Joaquin Hendricks, and the Tourism Secretary, Rodolfo Elizondo, made the statement along with the promoters of the race. They said that the name of the investors will not be revealed for now because the investors will do a statement later. Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico 10/25/04 This AP article reports that Mexican officials confirm the deal is done with Bernie and that a press conference will be held this afternoon, supposedly with Bernie in attendance. 10/25/04 Sources are saying that the track in Cancun is a Bernie Ecclestone/Tony George partnership and that we will see the IRL also racing in Mexico by 2006. Presumably the IRL will use the oval track. If this rumor can be believed, Bernie and Tony were able to get around the deal Forsythe signed with Cancun by building the track outside the city. If true, it will be another step by Tony George to undermine Champ Car at every turn. Adrian Fernandez has been working hard to help get the IRL into Mexico, and this may be the fruits of their labor. We shall see. 10/24/04 Bernie Ecclestone will travel from Brazil to Mexico on Sunday night to sign a seven-year contract for a Formula One grand prix at Cancun. An official in Mexico last week revealed that a mid-2006 event would be run at a purpose-built $80 million circuit, pending the arrangement of final information. To the right we include a track layout of the proposed Cancun complex (here is another view which shows where track is to be located). The racetrack that will be built in Cancun will be something like the Twin Ring Motegi track. There will be a 1.5-mile tri-oval and inside the oval will be part of the grand prix race track. The F-1 complex/pitlane will be located outside the oval and the grand prix track will have two tunnels where it crosses under the banking of the tri-oval twice. Unidentified businessmen (rumored to be billionaire Carlos Slim and Gerald Forsythe among others) will invest $100 million in a new circuit at Cancun under a five-year contract between the Quintana Roo state government and Formula One, state tourism minister Artemio Santos said. Ecclestone didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. "This is very good news for Mexico and the state of Quintana Roo," Santos said in a telephone interview from Cancun. "Formula One will promote both." There are rumors Champ Car could race on the oval track for a third Mexican race, though we hear the IRL wants in. If Gerald Forsythe is involved with this project as rumored, that will never happen. Mark C. 10/22/04 Bernie Ecclestone will be in Brazil this weekend for the latest round of negotiations over the future of the sport (and for the Grand Prix) and will then be heading off on Sunday evening to fly north to Mexico for the official launch of the new Mexican Grand Prix at Cancun. The Mexicans have been trying to secure a race for some time and the deal that has been leaked out by the local government seems to secure the funding for an all-new race track and the kind of fees that Ecclestone likes to see these days. It will also strengthen F1's position in the American time zones as the fourth race in the time zone. It is believed that Ecclestone wants a fifth event as well but at the moment there is no hint of one being in the pipeline. The future of the Brazilian GP may not be in Sao Paulo, which is looking ever more shoddy, and we hear that the race will be moving to a new facility in Rio de Janeiro in 2006. It is likely that the Mexican and Brazilian events will be twinned in the F1 calendar to give the teams a second trip to the Americas in October to support the US-Canada foray in the spring. This probably explains why Brazil has been pushed forward in the 2005 calendar, allowing the Japanese and Chinese GPs to be at the end of the calendar. The announcement will help to attract Mexican drivers and sponsors and it is believed that at least one Mexican company is already considering an investment in F1 as a sponsor. Grandprix.com 10/21/04 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Mexican authorities announced Wednesday evening that Cancun, Mexico will host a Formula One race in October 2006, AFP France report. Local Governor Joaquin Hendricks made the announcement after concluding a series of negotiations with Formula One Management President Bernie Ecclestone. The brand new venue will take place in October 2006 and the new facility will cost in the region of 80 million US dollars and will be spread over 300 hectares. An official announcement is scheduled for next Monday. F1-Live.com 10/20/04 The rumor in the Mexican racing community is that the man behind Cancun’s efforts to host an F1 race is none other than Carlos Slim. This mogul is considered to be one (if not the most) of the most powerful businessmen in the country, considered by some to be a sort of Mexican King Midas (whatever he touches turns into gold). If true, then Cancun is a lot closer than everyone thinks, and although Slim is always connected to a lot of rumors, this one seems to be true. José Arrambide 10/14/04 According to this article in today's Reforma, Cancun, Mexico will host an F1 race in 2006. José Abed, the representative of FIA in Mexico said that Cancun will have a race in 2006. He was quoted after the FIA meeting in Paris, “ I was with Mr. Ecclestone and he signed the contract already”. According to the article Bernie Ecclestone was questioned about Cancun, and he only smiled and said, "wait, wait." Recall that AutoRacing1.com reported a long time ago that Gerald Forsythe owned the rights to host a race in Cancun and he was talking to Bernie Ecclestone. Jose Arrambide
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