R329m Greek GP on the cards?
POOR TIMING FOR F1 CIRCUIT: Critics have slammed the proposed Greek F1 circuit (above) as they believe the funds could better be spent aiding the debt-stricken nation.
Author: Graham Wood
ATHENS, Greece - The man leading controversial plans to construct a Formula 1 track in debt-stricken Greece has defended the bold project, saying it will benefit, rather than burden, the country.
In October 2012 the Greek ministry of development confirmed it had unblocked a European funding subsidy equivalent to R329-million to build the track. Now the country's parliament must vote on the plan because 15% of the subsidy will be to its account.
RENTING THE TRACK
The track will be built near the western port f Patras and the ministry has set a total estimated cost of R1-billion, 70% of that funded by private investment company Racetrack Patras whose head, Evangelos Floratos, said: "Critics in the foreign media believe 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 will become a testing centre for F1 teams while Greece waits with a multitude of other nations to try to secure a lucrative annual F1 GP.
Floratos said: "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 1 race, which is an event often subsidised by the national government. This is not our primary goal.
"We are not prepared to pay to be added to the F1 calendar at this point. We will think about that later date if and when someone, in government or the private sector, wishes to subsidise it."
The circuit will be designed to host other motorsport events such as MotoGP and kart racing.