Argentina is hoping to make a return to the F1 calendar in 2007, according to reports in the country's press, and the San Luis government has asked for a meeting with Bernie Ecclestone. The Argentinean GP was previously hosted at the Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galvez in Buenos Aires but the city of San Luis proposes to upgrade the local Rosendo Hernandez circuit.
Meanwhile, the promoter of the Belgian GP has been declared bankrupt, which means the event will need to find a new one. The Spa circuit has a contract with F1 until 2010 but the promoter lost millions in the last two years and it will be difficult to find someone willing to step in and recoup the losses. The regional government has already spent $18million to keep the race going.
The Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track has been named as the FIA Institute's first Centre for Motor Sport Excellence. The French circuit was chosen for its facilities, safety standards and its continuing developments of such. The track, which boasts the most advanced medical facility of any circuit, hasn't hosted a Grand Prix since 1990 but is often used for testing.
"Paul Ricard has proved itself to be one of the safest tracks in the world and its medical facilities are second to none," said FIA Institute President Sid Watkins. "I am delighted that the FIA Institute is officially recognising these high safety standards in appointing Paul Ricard as the first Centre of Excellence for Motor Sport Safety."
Bahrain will be the 2006 season-opener on March 12th, Australia having to forfeit its traditional slot due to the Commonwealth Games. Melbourne is scheduled for April 2nd. Silverstone has moved to June 11th rather than its usual early July date, to avoid television schedule clashes with the World Cup football, while Brazil is back to being the last race on October 22nd. The Interlagos event is currently provisional subject to contract approval.
While there's not much on-track action in F1 at the moment, with most folks taking a break, Ferrari has been at work this week at Vallelunga. New race driver Felipe Massa was behind the wheel of the F2004 running a development programme of the V8 engine. He and tester Luca Badoer will be in action again from the start of November.