Is Formula 1 heading to Azerbaijan?

Is Formula 1 heading to Azerbaijan?

Bernie Ecclestone says that Azerbaijan could join the Formula 1 calendar and host its first race within the next two years.0852LW1D1127

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the deal for the sport to race in the country, which is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, is courtesy of former Renault team Flavio Briatore.

The race would be held in the capital city of Baku, which hosted a non-championship GT street race in 2012 and the final round of the FIA GT championship last year.

“We’re going to Azerbaijan,” said Ecclestone.

Organisers are keen to host a race next year, but a 2016 debut looks more likely. “The people out there [in Azerbaijan] are talking about holding a race in 2015,” he added.

“That may be a bit soon — unless it’s at the end of the season, that’s a possibility. But 2016 is more likely.”

Azerbaijan is one of several countries looking to join the F1 calendar. The Indian Grand Prix is scheduled to return next year while a street race in New Jersey has twice been postponed. Mexico was added to the draft 2014 schedule before being dropped, with organisers being given an extra year to improve circuit facilities.

Ecclestone is also looking at a possible return to Long Beach in Southern California, writing a letter to Mayor Bob Foster at the end of last year expressing F1’s interest.

Image courtesy of Octane Photographic

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport and Formula 1 journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his F1 paddock debut for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle, RumbleStripNews, Formula1Blog, PureF1 and F1 Plus, as well as running a popular blog.