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Greece Needs $1bn To Host F1 Grand Prix Race

Formula One grand prix_malaysia_2010Greece could be given the opportunity to host its own Formula One grand prix if the necessary investments are made in the country, according to the sport’s chief, Bernie Ecclestone.

Mr. Ecclestone made the statement to CNN while referring to the trademark “Formula 1 Mediterranean Grand Prix” that was registered by his company Formula One Licensing On 30 May.

“The Greeks are keen,” Ecclestone told CNN. “They want me to go and see the Prime Minister or the mayor (of Athens)… We will have to find out if they have got any money,” he added.

Total investment of around $1 billion is required to build a track from scratch and cover the F1 hosting fee, which typically runs for 10 years.

According to CNN, private investors are interested in the construction of a track in the Keratsini-Drapetsona municipality, which is six miles to the west of Athens. “It would be hard for Greece to justify a publicly funded investment after receiving more than 150 billion euros in bailouts following the recent recession, with unemployment still above 27 percent — the highest in eurozone,” CNN noted.

Greece’s leading F1 journalist Dimitris Papadopoulos told CNN that private initiatives are looking at the possibility of funding the construction of a street circuit in the area of Drapetsona and the hosting of a race.

He added that Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras sent a letter to the mayor of Drapetsona, by which he provided his full support to this attempt and that is based on private funding.

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  1. Brickina Wall Reply

    How many times is this ridiculous notion of Greece hosting F1 going be recycled? Without a doubt this one of the stupidiest ideas to come out of Greece in decades (and we all know there have been some really stupid ideas in that time).

    Firstly this desire to host F1 came about when Turkey hosted a Grand Prix a few years ago. That’s where Greek nationalism, ego and short-sightedness combined to create this fantasy. The fact that the Turks no longer host the race should be wake-up call to Greeks imagining that this is a game that we can afford to play in.

    Turkey spent its billion (or 2) on building the track and now it sits, unused, because the F1 circus no longer comes to town. Just building a suitable track does not guarantee an F1 race. There is competition for each slot on the calendar and if we see who has gotten the new race slots in the past few years (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, India, Singapore, Russia) it becomes obvious that we don’t compete at those levels.

    Secondly, and far more importantly we have no, -ZERO!- motorsport culture in Greece. Apart from the Acropolis Rally, WHICH WE NO LONGER HOST BECAUSE THERE WAS NO PUBLIC INTEREST, Greece has 2 pro race tracks. Guatemala has 6, Finland has 8, Ireland has 8 just for comparison. In the UK motorsport comprises events from F1, IndyCar, Rallying, Sportscar, Touring Cars, Junior Formulae including Karting, Historic racing and Motorcycle racing and many, many forms of Club Racing. Each weekend every single pro track (20+)and dozens of amateur ones hosts a motorsport event where several thousand of Brits from the ages of 5-85 take part in some form of racing. And even they are discussing if they can afford to keep F1!

    In Greece the number is maybe 100-200 people who actively and consistently take part in professional and semi-professional motorsport. Like golf there are simply not enough Greeks who participate in these sports to justify the expense. We already have enough white elephants remaining unused and rotting from the 2004 Olympics, we should not be adding to our debt burden. The idea that with the right infrastructure Greeks can get involved in various sports was disproved by the Games.

    Let’s be clear, no private investor is going to dump money to create a circuit that will be used one weekend a year. When the Keratsini idea was floated by Samaras’ cronies a few years ago they were open about wanting public funds for part of the investment. To be fair if someone wishes to invest their own money and build a track on PRIVATE land to host motorsport they are welcome to do so. But to spend a single cent of money or public property to support this foolish notion must not be allowed!

    Greece has natural resources which lend itself to certain sports and activities. We could for instance invest in sailing sports. Minimal infrastructure requirements, an already high level of competence within the country and the link to our history and culture makes this a field that we should aspire to excel in, both as hosts and as athletes. If we want to get into motorsport let’s start off-road with no expensive tracks and no greasing the palm of Bernie Ecclestone to give us a race. Alternatively one needs only see the global success and popularity of the Red Bull cliff diving championship to see how a simple idea, well executed can have spectacular results.

    Let’s play to our few strengths and invest time, money and effort into things that have a real and long-term benefit to the country. We are bankrupt as a country, broke, penniless, δεν εχουμε μια! Time to accept this reality and move forward with more intelligence than we have in the past.

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