Organizer Defends Proposed $38M F1 Track To Be Built In Debt-Stricken Greece
The man leading "controversial plans" to construct a potential F1 racetrack in debt-stricken Greece has defended the project and said "my life's work" will benefit rather than burden the country, according to Graham Wood of REUTERS. Last month, Greece's Ministry of Development confirmed it had "unblocked a European funding subsidy" of €29.5M ($37.8M) for the construction of an int'l-standard racetrack that could be used for staging F1. The track will be built in Chalandritsa near the western port city of Patras. The ministry estimated the cost at €94.6M, ($121M), 70% of which is to be funded by private investment company Racetrack Patras. Racetrack Patras Head Evangelos Floratos said, "Critics in the foreign media believe that the state will subsidise the circuit running cost, this is a false idea." Floratos will "oversee the project to build the track," which he hopes can act as a testing center for F1 teams. Meanwhile, Greece "waits with a multitude of other nations to try to secure a lucrative annual F1 race." Floratos: "This project belongs to the private sector, it does not expect state funding for its operational costs. It is also wrongly assumed that we are aiming at organising a Formula One race, which is an event often subsidised by the national government. This is not our primary goal." The circuit "will be designed to host other events" including world championship motorbike grand prix and go-kart racing. Floratos said, "Our chief aim is to operate the track 365 days per year, offer a high quality service to motor sport professionals and thus develop business and employment for the local community" (REUTERS, 11/5).