Ulaanbaatar, Monday: Excited officials in the landlocked republic of Mongolia have today announced a multi-year deal to host a Formula One Grand Prix, with a purpose-built circuit on the outskirts of the country’s capital Ulaanbaatar being set for approval.
“When you think about it, Mongolia is the ideal place to cultivate the ethos of Formula One,” the sport’s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone said at a press conference today. “There are close parallels between the nomadic traditions of the Mongol people and the travelling circus that is Formula One. Although the Mongols tended not to spend so much on hybrid systems for their horses.”
Ecclestone continued, “Also, Mongolia’s rich imperial history, with an empire that united diverse peoples, certainly reminds me of the relentless expansion of Formula One into countries with little or no motorsports heritage.”
Formula One has already got Grands Prix in China, Singapore and Malaysia, with further races in Korea and India planned. Moving the sport’s heartland from Europe into the lucrative markets of Asia has long been an aim of Ecclestone’s, though most commentators have admitted that Mongolia does not strike them as the logical place to stage a race.
The circuit itself will be built by semi-legendary (no, seriously) track designer Hermann Tilke, who has already revealed plans for the track. Tilke also announced that all of the course’s eighteen corners will be named after Genghis Khan.
“It may be a little confusing for everyone to begin with, especially when trying to work out where an incident has taken place,” Tilke admitted, “but this is all about getting as close to the Mongolian tradition as possible.”
When asked whether this meant that teams would be expected to forgo their usual expensive, flashy motorhomes in order to spend the weekend living out of traditional Mongol gers, the round tents used by nomads, Ecclestone snapped, “Don’t be so silly.”