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F-1 Boss Ecclestone Excited ahead of First Ever Valencia Grand Prix
    2008-08-23 08:53:43     Xinhua

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone told Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Friday how pleased he is ahead of the first ever Grand Prix in Valencia.


There is huge expectation in Spain ahead of the race, with the local fans hoping to cheer Fernando Alonso to victory through the streets of the east coast city and Ecclestone is looking forward to the event.


"I feel very proud of this race, it is a gamble taken by the people from Valencia. It is not going to disappoint anyone," he told the paper.


Ecclestone, who is president and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration, explained that the race would have an all-over benefit for the city.


"I have no doubt it will take a lot from the event. People are going to visit the city and it will be full. That is good for tourism. I remember how the 1982 soccer World Cup put Valencia on the map."


"This Grand Prix will mean the second big boost for Valencia in the last 30 years and we hope to be here for many years," he said, before discussing the popularity of the sport in Spain.


"It is strange, because for a long time we never had a fixed home in Spain and now we have two (Valencia and Barcelona). Barcelona helped us to become known but the arrival of Fernando Alonso helped make the sport popular. Fernando is the key to the change," he explained.


Sunday's race will see the former world champion receive huge support by the home fans and Ecclestone believes that it is vital that for the sport to continue progressing in the country, Spain should produce another driver.


"It is always necessary to have a local hero, because it produces an interesting phenomenon. Because of that, I hope we find another competitive Spanish driver. It is our key," he concluded.



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