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Volume 6 No. 212

Events and Attractions

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has confirmed that he is in talks about holding a Grand Prix in Mexico City" in '14, according to Christian Sylt of AUTOWEEK. The race "would take place at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which last hosted an F1 race in 1992 and needs a multi-million dollar upgrade in order to do so again." The Mexican Grand Prix "was expected to return to the F1 calendar" in '06. It did not take place and, since then, there "have been widespread rumors about when and where it would return." Ecclestone "has stayed quiet about the rumors but has now revealed that Mexico City is in pole position to become the new home of the Mexican Grand Prix." Ecclestone said, "Mexico City is a better place to hold the race than Cancun. In more or less any city around the world you could ask people 'where is Mexico City?' and they would say Mexico. If you said to somebody where is Cancun they would say 'I don’t know.'" The Mexico City project has a true "dream team" behind it. It appears the three key players are Alejandro Soberon, Tavo Hellmund and Carlos Slim Domit. Soberon is the CEO of CIE and Hellmund is well-known in F1 circles for "being the creator and mastermind of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, which last year hosted the U.S. Grand Prix after a five year hiatus." Slim Domit is the son of the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, and "bankrolled both" McLaren driver Sergio Perez and Sauber pilot Esteban Gutierrez for many years to get them into F1. Ecclestone claimed that despite his connection to racing, Carlos Slim, who is worth an estimated $72B, "will not bankroll the Mexican Grand Prix." He said, "Everybody thinks that Carlos Slim is going to pay the bills for the race, but I know he’s not" (AUTOWEEK, 2/24).

FEMALE DRIVER IN F1?: PLANET F1 reported Williams test driver Susie Wolff said that Ecclestone is reportedly "determined to see a female driver compete in Formula One." Wolff "entered F1 last season with Williams but has yet to pit herself against F1's male drivers as her efforts have been kept to aerodynamic tests and one day at Silverstone" in October. The Scot, though, "is determined to secure her superlicense this year" and take another step toward the F1 grid. And she reckons that "the powers-that-be are keen to see a female in the sport" (PLANET F1, 2/25). In London, Kevin Eason wrote NASCAR driver Danica Patrick’s achievement of the past week at the Daytona 500 "is either the breakthrough for women in motor racing or the high water mark. Which is it?" There have been plenty of optimistic noises about the rise of women to the front rank of the sport. Wolff said that Ecclestone "was massively pushing" for a women in F1. He will need "a lot of shoulder power." The sad but ultimate fact of motor racing is that "there are no women to push." Patrick is it and the chances of her getting into F1 "range from remote to non-existent -- unless, of course, a combination of powerful sponsors and some leg work from Bernie push her into a seat in one of the middling teams." The objections "are not to Patrick, the woman driver, but to Patrick, the driver from" the U.S. IndyCar -- and certainly NASCAR -- "has long been considered massively inferior to Formula One, which is why team principals will not touch drivers from over there with a barge pole, or probably some sort of high-tech piece of carbon fibre" (LONDON TIMES, 2/25).

The UAE is "likely to stage a Test series between Pakistan and South Africa" in October this year, according to K.R. Nayar of GULF NEWS. The teams recently completed a three-match series in South Africa. They are due to meet again in Pakistan later this year for two Tests, five One Day Internationals and three Twenty20s. Pakistan has not hosted any int'l cricket matches since '09. Instead the team has made the UAE a second home, "playing the majority of its matches" in the country over the last four years. A source at the Pakistan Cricket Board said, “We would like to stage the Test series in Pakistan as our country is always our first choice. However, under the present circumstances this series is likely to be held in UAE” (GULF NEWS, 2/25).

It will be a few months before those behind Wellington's bid to host the 2015 cricket World Cup matches know if Monday's "whistle-stop tour was successful," according to Hamish Bidwell of FAIRFAX NZ NEWS. Representatives from the International Cricket Council and broadcaster ESPN visited Westpac Stadium, the Basin Reserve and Karori Park Monday, "as part of a nationwide inspection of playing and training facilities." The city council is "fronting Wellington's application, with assistance from Cricket Wellington." Council sport portfolio leader John Morrison said Westpac Stadium "should figure prominently" when the tournament begins in Feb. 2015. Morrison said, "It's a damn sight better than Eden Park and playing on a postage stamp, isn't it?" (FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 2/26).

Tickets for the next installment of the Sydney derby "have become hot property." Fans "were quick to snap up" a batch of 4000 tickets Monday for the Western Sydney-Sydney FC round 26 game at Parramatta Stadium on March 23, all but ensuring it will be a 20,741 sellout (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/26). ... After being "left to themselves" to find the resources to participate in next month's Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Thailand, Indian fencers "finally managed to raise funds and will now take part in the event" under the Fencing Confederation of Asia banner (PTI, 2/25). ... The Volleyball Federation of India's Federation Cup is "all set to be launched again" after a decade at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium at Pramadom (THE HINDU, 2/23).