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Monday, November 30, 1998 Published at 12:19 GMT

India joins the race for Formula One

A memorandum of understanding is exchanged with the West Bengali authorities

A consortium in Calcutta is aiming to bring Formula One to Calcutta by the turn of the millennium.

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Grand Prix India plans to build a race track in the emerging satellite township of Rajarhat, on the eastern fringes of Calcutta.

"We went all over India for possible venues," Anwar Salim, a Grand Prix India director said.

His consortium has signed a memorandum of understanding with the West Bengal State Government and he added: "Calcutta was the only place where there was convenient block of land."

[ image: There is a long queue to host Formula One races - India is set to join]
There is a long queue to host Formula One races - India is set to join
The city was chosen ahead of Goa, Bombay, Madras, Delhi and Bangalore, where a smaller race track already operates.

The Formula One track is planned for a 450 acre site, originally designated for a sports complex and the consortium hope to have the track open for racing by 2001.

In order to bring a Grand Prix to India, the track owners need to apply to the motorsport's governing body, the FIA.

Mr Salim said he hoped that their eventual application would meet all all FIA conditions.

There is fierce world-wide competition to host Formula One. China and Malaysia hope to join the Grand Prix calendar for 1999.

Other countries, including Argentina, are eager to get back on the schedule and South Africa, South Korea, the United States and Lebanon are also under consideration.

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