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Motor Racing in Tenerife: The Dawn of a New Era
Every year an estimated six million tourists descended on Tenerife to enjoy its tropical climate, sprawling beaches and pumping nightlife. While you won't often hear many people citing the island's motor racing festivals as a reason for their visit, all that may be about to change thanks to a recent announcement by the President of Tenerife, Carlos Alonso.


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21.05.2015 - Describing the island as a luxury tourist destination that would fit perfectly with the image of Formula 1, Alonso outlined plans for a new FIA approved race track at a site in Granadilla De Abona. Although still in the early planning stages, the proposal has been filed with the relevant government department (the Request for Proposals division) and, according to the plans, the track will be up to the standards expected by Formula 1 officials. Moreover, because the circuit will meet FIA standards, it is also hoped it can become the home for high-level motorbike races, including the prestigious MotoGP.

Tenerife Ready for Racing's Finest

For racing fans in Tenerife, the news of a potential Formula 1 event taking place on the island will be a welcome announcement. However, for those with long memories, talk of the world's top racing organisation coming to Tenerife is nothing new. For the last 17 years, the optimists have held out hope that the Formula 1 bandwagon will roll into town.

One reason for this anticipation in recent years is the potential to see Spain's current racing sensation, Fernando Alonso, speed around the island. Born in Oviedo but loved by Spaniards everywhere, Alonso has achieved worldwide notoriety thanks to his two F1 championship titles. Despite entering the twilight of his career, island residents would truly love to see a Spanish hero competing against the finest drivers in the world. Indeed, head down to any bar in Tenerife with Formula 1 on the TV and you'll be greeted by crowds of Alonso fans.

These fans would be the same ones who would turn out in force if the F1 bosses decide to sanction an event at the newly constructed Tenerife Island Circuit.

A New Era for Motor Racing in Tenerife

Of course, all this anticipation is merely that at the moment as there is no guarantee that Tenerife will ever be named as a Formula 1 destination. However, the latest announcement by President Alonso could be the most definitive step towards Formula 1 Tenerife that racing fans have had for a long time. The company behind the new racetrack, TN y GPO Engineers, will be brining all of their F1 expertise with them when the €25.7 million project gets under way. Having previously worked on circuits around Europe, including Circuit Montmeló in Barcelona, the team of engineers will be looking to create something truly special in Tenerife.

In fact, to ensure the track is as finely tuned as possible, former Formula 1 driver, Mark Blundell, has offered to put it through its paces. A racing driver with more than 20 years’ experience, Blundell has told President Alonso that he will consult on the project throughout its development and conduct the first serious test when construction is complete.

In addition to attracting a new wave of tourists to the island, a Formula 1 event in Tenerife could revive interest in many of the local racing events. Although F1 is the preeminent racing organisation in the world, Tenerife boasts a range of equally thrilling events. Rally driving is one of the biggest sports in Tenerife and an influx of Formula 1 fans could increase the interest in these races.

A History of Tenerife Racing: The Adeje Rally

Leading the pack when it comes to popularity is the Adeje Rally. Held annually in, unsurprisingly, Adeje, the rally recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and to mark the occasion the organisers set up a 560km circuit made up of 12 stages.

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With one stage forming part of the Spanish Championship, the Adeje rally is made up of 180 time trials that start in Adeje before taking the drivers on a tour of the Island's hottest sights and tightest turns. After some high-octane action that saw the cream of Spanish rally talent race around the island, it was Fuster Miguel and Aviñó Ignacio who came out on top. Notching up a time of 1:55:38.0 in their Porsche 997 GT3 RS, Miguel and Ignacio were able to finish comfortably ahead of their fellow Porsche drivers, Burgo Pedro/ Burgo Marcos (1:56:19.9)  and Ares Iván/ Bañobre Álvaro (1:56:22.8).

More Tracks, More Thrills and Spills

Rally Norte Tenerife is another of the island's popular races and regularly attracts racing fans that enjoy one of the most unpredictable sports in the world. All rallies have an element of suspense and danger, but the Rally Norte Tenerife is one that is always unpredictable. Taking place in October, this year's cohort will all be trying to match the form shown by Ricardo Avero over the years.

Topping two tables in the Hall of Fame, Avero has notched up four wins and six podium finishes in the event. In fact, the only record he doesn't hold is the number of starts in the competition. This dominance in the event has not only made him a legend in the Spanish racing world, but the man everyone wants to emulate when they start their engines for the Rally Norte Tenerife. In fact, such is the dominance of Avero that he is also a legend in the Rally Isla de Tenerife event.

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Thanks an impressive five wins, Avero has become one of the top drivers in the race's history. Of course, with a history that stretches back to 1965, Avero is not the only legend on the circuit. Taking the honours in the first ever event was Antonio M. Perez and his co-pilot, Carlos Hafner. Racing in a Fiat 1500, the duo set the tone for what would become one of the most popular rally races on the island.

Swapping Four Wheels for Two

In addition to hosting some of the finest rally races in Europe, Tenerife is also home to some exceptionally entertaining motorbike events. MotoGP, the gold standard when it comes to motorbike racing, is big business in Spain with an average of four out of 18 races being held in its territories.

This love for speed on two-wheels could make the proposed Tenerife Island Circuit just as popular with MotoGP fans as F1 petrol heads. Sitting alongside host nations such as Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Italy, Tenerife could easily become one of the most popular tracks on the schedule. Enjoying sunshine virtually all year round, the island circuit would provide perfect racing conditions for the MotoGP heroes, such as Alex De Angelis, Scott Redding and Pol Espargaro.

Of course, the stars of the MotoGP circuit will not be the first riders to weave their way around an island track. Motocross is another hugely popular motor sport in Tenerife and thanks to former BMX champion from Australia, the island has played host to a number of professional races in recent years. The course, which is open to the general public when the professionals aren't out in force, is situated in the hills between Las Chafiras and San Miguel.

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Spread over a mile radius and filled with flowing straights and exaggerated jumps, the track is maintained on a regular basis which means it has been able to establish itself as one of the top venues in Spain.

Although the sport already enjoys a healthy flow of fans and riders in Tenerife, the presence of a MotoGP stop would certainly increase the number of people tuning in to Motocross. Much like F1 would help boost the profile of Tenerife's rally scene, the construction of a new circuit able to host a MotoGP would help generate bigger audiences for future Motocross events.

Potential Impact of Formula 1 and MotoGP on Tenerife

As popular as Tenerife's rally events have become, all will pale in comparison to a Formula 1 race. Annually the sport attracts TV viewing figures of more than 55 billion. Thanks to broadcasting deals with hundreds of major TV outlets, each F1 event is watched by more than 600 million fans (despite a drop in recent years) and that will shine a huge spotlight on Tenerife as an island. As it stands, Tenerife is the most popular island in the Canaries. But, with more than half a billion people tuning in to watch an F1 race, it could significantly increase the Island's tourist trade.

As well as highlighting Tenerife's motor racing culture, the Formula 1 road show would generate huge profits for local hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Not only that, but gift shops would also see an upturn in revenue thanks to an influx of racing fans.

The other knock on effect of hosting an annual F1 event in Tenerife is a potential slew of new businesses setting up shop on the island. As well as a slew of corporate benefits, Tenerife has a 4% business tax rate for businesses operating on the island. These attractive operating conditions could prompt racing drivers, moreover other international companies, to move into Tenerife and begin trading.

Despite development costs projected to hit €25 million, a successful move into the F1 arena could return much more in annual revenue. On top of a cash rush once a year, the residual flow of cash that will be formed if the organisation decides to make a home in Tenerife's new track will be hugely positive for everyone.

More Racing Means More Opportunities for Sports Fans

Away from the financial benefits of hosting a Formula 1 event in Tenerife, the development of a new racetrack should give sports fans a wealth of new, exciting events to look forward to. According to racing expert, Blundell, the circuit has the potential to create some hugely exciting races. Not only will its location give the circuit 180 degree views of the sea and volcanic mountains, but the innovative design will give racers some tough tests when construction is complete.

As well as providing a world-class sporting spectacle, a new F1 event will throw up some interesting betting opportunities. Whenever the Formula 1 bosses add a new event to the season, it can upset the form book as drivers struggle to get to grips with the circuit. Indeed, a betting favourite's odds for the Drivers’ Championship may take a severe hit at an online sportsbook such as betfair with a poor performance on a new track.

While the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel are all accomplished drivers, a new track will always be a challenge and that could cause a shift in the odds. In fact, anyone with an eye on the F1 betting markets may be able to find some unexpected value in a lower ranked driver if Tenerife gets the green light to host an event.

A Financial Boost for All

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Tenerife's long association with motor racing is clear for all to see, but the presence of a Formula 1 event would open many more eyes to the island's high-octane culture. Although some may question the cost of a new racetrack in times of financial trouble, the long-term benefits will significantly outweigh the initial outlay.

As well as generating massive amounts of revenue from the TV exposure an event would receive, the F1 bandwagon could give racing fans a new source of revenue. Thanks to the online sports betting world placing a huge amount of emphasis on F1, moreover all motor sports, there would be a slew of betting opportunities for punters.

Overall, the recent announcement by President Alonso should be seen as one that is hugely positive for Tenerife. The financial impact of the Formula 1 Championship pitching up on the island will be something businesses, residents and racing fans will all benefit from. Moreover, the decision to host an event in Tenerife would be a fitting tribute to the island's rich history of motor racing talent.

If all goes well, then the Tenerife Island Circuit should be complete within the next two years and, when the doors finally open, it could signal a new era for the island's sports industry.



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