Azerbaijan is set to host a Formula One grand prix in the 2015 or 2016 season after signing a deal with Bernie Ecclestone.
A race around the streets of the capital Baku has been made possible by Flavio Briatore, the former Renault boss, who is likely to pocket a seven-figure sum from any deal.
Briatore, who still speaks regularly to Ecclestone, has been called the "Bling King of Azerbaijan" after opening his couture business Billionaire in Baku.
Ecclestone has not confirmed a date for the Baku race but seems adamant it will take place at some stage in the next two seasons.
"We're going to Azerbaijan," he said. "The people out there are talking about holding a race in 2015. That may be a bit soon unless it's at the end of the season. But 2016 is more likely."
Ecclestone's global expansion
Baku Grand Prix could potentially take the F1 calendar to 22 Grand Prix events, with the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey delayed until 2015 at least, while the Indian Grand Prix is reportedly rejoining the calendar in an early-season slot.
Ecclestone is also still hopeful of arranging a future race around the streets of London.
Russia is scheduled to stage its first grand prix in Sochi, host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in October as part of a growing trend away from the sport's traditional circuits in Europe.
Ecclestone’s relationship with Putin illustrates his global reach — a factor in the F1 board, who meet in Germany today, having stuck with the 83-year-old despite a High Court judge calling him ‘unreliable and corrupt’ last month.
Source: Al Jazeera