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Bulgaria would replace Hungary, Turkey GPs UPDATE #9
Bulgaria is closer for the F1 teams than even Turkey.  We predict Bulgaria will replace the money-losing Turkish GP.
(GMM)  The addition of Bulgaria to the F1 calendar could mean the end of the sport's Hungarian and Turkish rounds.

That is the claim of organizer and Bulgarian motor racing official Bogdan Nikolov, who said this week that a contract for a debut race in 2012 could be signed as soon as next month.

The news follows a scandal earlier this year, when Abu Dhabi investors reportedly reacted furiously to funding claims about the Bulgarian event.

But Nikolov insists the Arab investors are still interested in the project, suggesting that the scandal was more due to "competitive" interests.

"If there is formula one grand prix in Sofia, there won't be races on Istanbul Park (in Turkey) and (the) Hungaroring.  We will be the only grand prix in eastern Europe," he told the Sofia news agency Novinite.

09/03/10 (GMM)  Abu Dhabi has denied reports it is helping Bulgaria join the formula one calendar.  It emerged earlier this week that an economic cooperation agreement has been signed between the Bulgarian economy minister and the Emirates Associated Business Group, a state-owned Abu Dhabi company.

Bulgarian authorities, as well as local agencies and publications, claimed the agreement involves construction of a formula one circuit at the former air base at Dobroslavtsi, 15 kilometers from the capital Sofia.

The agreement would reportedly see Abu Dhabi pay for construction of the circuit, with the land provided by Bulgaria.

But according to the Bulgarian daily Sega, Abu Dhabi has denied the reports.

A statement also said the Emirates Associated Business Group was so disappointed with the incorrect information that it will cancel its Bulgarian investments altogether.

Sega quoted the company's chief executive Raid Abu Hudra as saying the officials had acted so unprofessionally that he would advise others against investing in Bulgaria.

He said a mediator from the Bulgarian prime minister's office had invited Abu Dhabi to invest in an F1 track but "We told him we would not be interested".

08/31/10 This rumor is upgraded from 'false' to 'speculation' today.  Abu Dhabi is set to help Bulgaria join the formula one calendar. According to reports, an economic cooperation agreement was signed this week between the Bulgarian economy minister and the Emirates Associated Business Group, a state-owned Abu Dhabi company.

Standart News and Sofia news agency Novinite claim the agreement involves construction of a formula one circuit at the former air base at Dobroslavtsi, 15 kilometers from the Bulgarian capital.

The agreement would see Abu Dhabi pay for construction of the circuit, with the land provided by Bulgaria.  The press office of the Bulgarian economy ministry confirmed the news.  2012 is slated as a possible grand prix debut date, but the reports said a proposal is late being lodged with the FIA.

11/22/09 FIA President Jean Todt has dismissed reports that he received a formal request from Bulgaria about holding a grand prix in the eastern European country.  The Bulgarian Motorcycle Federation (BMF) recently claimed that it received the preliminary contract for hosting an F1 race in 2011 or 2012, even going as far as to hold talks with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. However, a lack of finances later forced BMF to suspend all activities.

According to the Sofia News Agency, Todt has denied that a formal request was received by Bulgarian authorities.  Frenchman Todt is due to meet Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov and president of Bulgarian Federation of motor sport (BFAS) and president of the Union of

Bulgarian Motorists (SBA) Georgi Yanakiev over the next few days. However, discussions will focus the route of the 2010 Rally Bulgaria and general road safety, and not Formula One.

11/13/09 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Bulgarian organizers have scrapped plans to host a formula one race.

The organizing body Bulgarian Motorcycling Federation (BMF) had held meetings with Bernie Ecclestone and reportedly even received a race contract for 2011-2015.

But BMF chief Bogdan Nikolov has announced that the plans, as well as the federation, have been suspended.  The Bulgarian sports minister had announced this week that only "land for construction" would be provided.

"At the end of what was possibly our most successful season ever, we have to suspend all activities and shut down the federation," Nikolov is quoted as saying by the Sofia Echo newspaper.

"This federation cannot be sustained by the personal loans that I myself provide.  I have to pay off debts and loans from banks, I even sold some of my own personal property to keep operations going."

He added that there is "no sign" that the government will change its approach to funding in the future.

09/14/09 (GMM)  Contrary to earlier reports, a contract for a Bulgarian grand prix in 2011 or 2012 has not yet been signed.  We reported recently that a race near the southeastern European republic's capital Sofia will be held following the reaching of an agreement.

But according to the local Focus news agency, the chairman of the organizing body Bulgarian Motorcycle Federation, Bogdan Nikolov, has only now received the preliminary contract.

It was received on Sunday and is "not signed yet", the report revealed.

09/11/09  A deal has now been reached to see a Bulgarian grand prix held near the southeastern European republic's capital Sofia.

"We have signed a contract for the MotoGP race, and we also have reached an agreement on a formula one race," Bulgarian politician and motor racing organizing committee chairman Rumen Petkov told the Trud daily.

He suggested a single circuit will be used for both premier racing series.

The MotoGP contract is for the circuit to be completed by January of 2011, and the reports about F1 indicate a race in either 2011 or 2012.

08/28/09 (GMM)  Talks about a possible Bulgarian grand prix for the future will take place this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

"(Bernie) Ecclestone and his team will gather and discuss the matter at ... Spa," announced Bogdan Nikolov, president of the Bulgarian Motorcycle Federation.

The Sofia news agency said the officials of the east European republic want a ten-year contract, to begin in either 2011 or 2012, for a race to be held on a purpose-built circuit near the capital.

"There will be shareholders.  The state will not participate in this," Nikolov clarified.

07/10/09 (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone will visit Bulgaria in the coming weeks as the southeastern European republic looks to join the formula one calendar in 2011.

A Bulgarian delegation led by politician Rumen Petkov met with the F1 chief executive at the Nurburgring on Friday.

The meeting lasted more than an hour, the Focus news agency reports.

"We expect to get a letter from Mr. Ecclestone in reference to the talks," he said afterwards in Germany.  "We invited him in Bulgaria and he will pay a visit in the next weeks," Petkov added.

F1 drivers said they would welcome travelling to Bulgaria for a grand prix, but Sebastian Vettel suggested that efforts should be made to ensure new races can provide an adequate "atmosphere".

In neighboring Turkey recently, the atmosphere was particularly flat, due to high ticket prices and low local interest in the sport.

"If the spectators are great, if the atmosphere is great - if there are plenty of Bulgarian race fans - it would be nice to go there," German Vettel said.

07/02/09 (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone will meet with a delegation from Bulgaria next weekend in view of adding the name of the southeastern European republic to the formula one calendar.

We reported in March that the Bulgarian Motorcycle Federation was in talks with the F1 chief executive and assigning funds to build a bespoke formula one circuit.

Representatives of the race organizing committee have now been formally invited to the Nurburgring next weekend to meet with Ecclestone, the Focus news agency said on Thursday.

It is claimed the race promotion contract, to be initially for 2011 through 2015 and with an option to extend further, could be signed at the German grand prix.

Ecclestone will reportedly also meet with Baden-Wurttemberg premier Gunther Oettinger at the Nurburgring, in a bid to rescue embattled Hockenheim's formula one round.

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