Malaga, Sunday: Formula One Management head Bernie Ecclestone has announced that his proposed “Mediterranean Grand Prix” will be rather more literal than had previously been supposed.
The Mediterranean Grand Prix was a placeholder name used for the race at Valencia, in case the “European Grand Prix” moniker needed to be applied to another race. However, Ecclestone has today revealed plans for a third race in Spain from 2011 onwards, which will use the Mediterranean title.
The race will take place on a Hermann Tilke-designed circuit, which will be unique from all previous Grands Prix in that it will be built under the sea just off the Spanish port city of Malaga.
“We’ve had races on the streets, and in the desert, and even in the dark, so obviously the next step is to have one underwater,” Ecclestone explained to incredulous journalists. “It will represent the ever-increasing expansion of F1’s global appeal. Simply focusing on Grands Prix on land is a backward and blinkered way of thinking.”
The 3.2-mile track will feature state-of-the-art pit and paddock facilities, a top-notch hospitality suite and the usual array of slow-to-medium switchback corners.
“Imagine the spectacle of F1 drivers blasting through shoals of surprised fish and pulling off amazing overtakes in between the occasional unfortunate dolphin,” Ecclestone continued. “This is truly the beginning of a new era for Formula One.”
F1 teams have expressed concerns about the technical aspects of getting their cars to run underwater, as well as providing fail-safe systems to ensure that drivers, mechanics and marshals can breathe in the aquatic environment, but the F1 supremo waved away these criticisms as “trifling insignificances.” He did, however, admit that the traditional champagne shower on the podium may have to be “compromised” due to the unusual local conditions.