Jones Unveils Australian A1 Entry

Former Formula One World Champion Alan Jones today unveiled Australia's entry for the new A1 Grand Prix series

Jones Unveils Australian A1 Entry

The 25-nation A1 series, devised and bankrolled by Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum of Dubai, is set to begin on England's Brands Hatch circuit in September and is meant to fill the motor racing void when Formula One shuts down.

Maktoum and Jones revealed the single-seat V8 car due for a practice run on the Eastern Creek Raceway on Sydney's western outskirts on Thursday.

Maktoum and Jones refused to confirm whether Sydney would host the Australian leg, although the car had the name and logo of the city prominently displayed.

"I'll leave it to the negotiators. We are in deep discussions with several parties ... I want to wait for the final calendar to be announced," Maktoum told Reuters.

The Australian Formula One Grand Prix is held in Melbourne in March and Sydney is one of few major Australian cities without a significant motor racing event.

No details of who will drive for Australia have been released but Maktoum said Australia's Asian Formula Three champion Christian Jones would take the car through its paces at Eastern Creek.

Jones, the 1980 world champion, will hold the Australian franchise in the September-April series, which will use single-design cars built by Lola in Britain and powered by 3.4 litre Zytek engines.

"Alan Jones is a hero to Australians. Imagine having a national hero racing in every single country," Maktoum said.

Brazilian striker Ronaldo has bought Brazil's A1 entry and will compete against his Real Madrid teammate Luis Figo, who has been named as Portugal's franchise holder along with former Real coach and compatriot Carlos Queiroz.

Maktoum also said his operation was in negotiations with several potential Australian television broadcasters, including free-to-air Network Seven as well as pay television providers.

Maktoum said he had not set up the A1 series in opposition to Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One but hoped it would bring "50 to 60 percent" more new fans to motor racing.

"I know what Formula One is. I'm not stupid enough to go against it," he said.

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