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Iran planning new venue to host Formula One

Iran is planning to develop a circuit to host Formula One motor racing on the island of Qeshm, according to IRNA.

The state news agency, quoting vice-president and head of cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism organisation Masoud Soltanifar, said the announcement represents a change in strategy with Iran having previously targeted the development of a Formula One circuit in Parand City, 35 kilometres south of Tehran.

Soltanifar said: “Iran has so many young people with an increasing tendency for driving. Formula One has a great future in Iran.” He added that Qeshm Island has the potential to become one of the world's “most beautiful” F1 destinations.

Qeshm is the largest island in the Persian Gulf and is a free duty zone. News of Iran’s plans make it the latest Middle East country to target a Formula One race. Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) president Nasser bin Khalifa al-Attiyah in February said the nation was close to agreeing a deal to host an event.

Al-Attiyah, who is also a vice-president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), said Qatar’s debut on the calendar of the motor racing series would be in 2016 or 2017. He added that Qatar would offer the choice of two circuits on which to race, either an existing facility in Lusail, or a specially-designed street circuit through the capital Doha.

Bahrain held the Middle East’s first F1 race in 2004, with Abu Dhabi joining the calendar in 2009.