Montoya claims Colombian GP deal with F1 was '95% done'

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Juan Pablo Montoya says a deal for his home country of Colombia to host a round of the Formula 1 World Champion was "95 per cent done" with Liberty media before the agreement was scrapped.

At the end of last year, it was reported that the Colombian city of Barranquilla located on the Caribbean Sea had entered talks with Liberty for the organization of a street race – the Caribbean Grand Prix.

The project allegedly involved the Inter-American Entertainment Corporation (CIE), that promotes the Mexican Grand Prix, as well as a group of Spanish businessmen, including Fernando Alonso's manager Luis Garcia Abad.

At the time, Jaime Pumajero, the Mayor of Barranquilla, said funding for the high-profile event in the coastal town would be sourced from private investors, while the local government would be responsible for improving "existing roads and other infrastructure".

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However, since last spring, plans for the race have been shelved according to Montoya as F1 subsequently set its sights on racing in the streets of Madrid in the future.

"About eight months ago it was 95 per cent done, but someone messed it up on something and I don’t know what," the former Grand prix driver told Colombian website Semana.

"I went with the Formula 1 people to Barranquilla, we looked at the layout. Everything was done, the signature was missing and they were ready to sign. Maybe in 2028.

"They ended up giving the race to Madrid."

The coastal city of Barranquilla.

A year ago, the city of Madrid informed Formula One Management that it was committed to bringing Grand Prix racing to the streets of the capital of Spain at some point in the future.

That commitment led to a formal project being put on its rails and supported by IFEMA, Madrid's major center for conferences and conventions which is operated by public organisations, and on the grounds of which would be laid out a proper F1 street circuit.

IFEMA has also been the site since last March of the sport's first official Formula 1 Exhibition which features a wide range of unseen artefacts from Grand Prix racing's most legendary teams and personalities.

Last month, IFEMA president José Vicente de los Mozos claimed that an F1 street race in the vicinity of the site is set to become a reality.

"I know when we're going to sign it and when we're going to do it," said de los Mozos while discussing Madrid's future race deal, as reported by Europa Press.

"We have followed the process indicated to us. The Spanish Automobile Federation has been informed from the first moment, we have signed exclusivity, and now we are advancing with the contract."

Madrid's F1 street race would take around IFEMA, a major center for conferences and conventions.

It's unclear if the prospective event would appear on the calendar as the Madrid GP or replace Barcelona as the official Spanish GP. The Circuit de Catalunya is contracted to run the race until 2026.

In June, F1 boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed that Madrid had put itself on the ranks to host a round of the F1 world championship.

But while such an event would be of interest to F1 given the sport's popularity in Spain, the Italian offered no assurances that the city's efforts would come to fruition.

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