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SBD Global/October 3, 2012/Facilities

Greek Government Looking To Spend Almost $100M On F1 Track

Greece has unblocked a subsidy of €30M ($38.8M) so it can "build a motor racing circuit capable of hosting" a F1 Grand Prix, according to Andrew Trotman of the London TELEGRAPH. Even though data shows Greece is heading for its sixth year of recession, the government is "pushing ahead with constructing" the track in Xalandritsa, near Patras. A draft budget for '13 shows that the Greek finance ministry forecasts GDP to contract by 3.8% next year after shrinking 6.5% this year (TELEGRAPH, 10/2). In N.Y., Paul Tugwell reported the track will have a total cost of €94.6M ($122.3M) and "will be designed to host other events as well," including world championship motorbike racing and go-kart racing. Private investment company Racetrack Patras SA "will oversee the project" (BLOOMBERG, 10/1). In Paris, Guillaume Errard wrote Greece "does not seem to have learned any lessons from the 2004 Olympic Games." Although the organization of the event created a €9B ($11.6B) hole for the country, the Greece government "is counting on F1 to help relaunch its employment market." When asked "Why spend such a large sum for a F1 Grand Prix when we know what happened with the 2004 Games," Greece Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis responded that the investment "would stimulate the economy of the country by creating 5,000 permanent jobs and 3,000 temporary." The project seems well on its way, "but nothing has been won" since the FIA still needs to approve the project (LE FIGARO, 10/2).
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