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Argentina starts building new F1 circuit

updated 5:12 PM EST, Mon December 19, 2011
Michael Schumacher celebrates after winning the last Argentine Grand Prix to be raced, in April 1998.
Michael Schumacher celebrates after winning the last Argentine Grand Prix to be raced, in April 1998.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Work begins on constructing a new racing circuit in Argentina
  • South American nation last hosted a Formula One event in 1998
  • New track outside Buenos Aires is expected to be finished by late 2014

(CNN) -- Argentina's bid to host a Formula One race for the first time in more than a decade is under way after work started on a new circuit outside the capital Buenos Aires.

The $100 million project is expected to be completed in two stages by the end of 2014. It is being built by global design firm Populous, which helped redevelop Britain's Silverstone circuit.

"We are really proud to contribute with our design to create a new destination for F1, which always means an economic catalyst for the area and produces global exposure," said the company's associate principal John Rhodes.

"During the last five years we have developed technology, software, and design techniques through the use of simulation to physically test the design of a circuit.

We are really proud to contribute with our design to create a new destination for F1
John Rhodes of Populous

"These pioneering techniques have enabled the creation of a topographically exciting and challenging medium-speed circuit on what was a relatively square and flat 63-hectare site."

Ground was broken on the Velociudad Speedcity site, situated 80 kilometers from Buenos Aires, on Friday.

The first phase of construction, expected to last 14 months, will include a 3.1-kilometer track, pit lane, garages and an off-road track.

The second will extend the circuit to 4.7 kilometers in order to qualify for a race licence.

Populous, which is also working on a possible F1 project in the Indian city of Mumbai, said the Argentine development would require the movement of one million cubic meters of soil.

The Argentine Grand Prix was held from 1953 to 1998 at Buenos Aires' Autodromo Juan y Oscar Galvez circuit.

The last race there was won by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, who at that stage had won two of his record seven world titles -- the next would come in 2000.

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