Wheels24

Broke Greece to shell out on F1

2012-10-04 11:35

ATHENS, Greece - Debt-ridden Greece is to spend 28.9 million euros (R316-million) on a Formula 1 racetrack despite the nation's economic crisis, the development ministry said on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.

The funds, which will subsidise about one-third of the one-billion rand project, were released as part of a government effort to speed up investments that it considers top priorities but that have been delayed by bureaucratic procedures.

TOURISM, JOBS BOOST


The government gave the project the green light in May 2012, saying the racetrack would boost tourism and create jobs in a country where severe austerity measures and a crippling recession now in its fifth year have driven the unemployment rate over 20%.

The racetrack, to be built by Greek construction group Avtokinitodromio Patras, will host F1 races - pending approval from the sport's governing body - as well as motorcycle and kart races.

The town of Fares in the north-west of the Peloponnese peninsula will host the track, which will be built over the next three years.

Greece's leaders have been debating for years whether to build such a track but have faced resistance from residents and environmentalists.

The country spent 8.95 billion euros to host the 2004 Athens Olympics, including 7.2-billion euros to build and outfit venues, according to opposition party Syriza. As the country has slid into financial catastrophe, the government has come under fire for that tab.

AFP