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DATE News (chronologically)
Greece eyeing F1 race UPDATE #6 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 subsidize 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 organizing a Formula One race, which is an event often subsidized 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

10/14/12 The project of a road course of Patras does not represent Greece's bid to stage a Formula 1 Grand Prix in the near future, says Athanassios P.Papatheodorou, architect and Project Manager of Dielpis Formula 1.

A few days ago, Mr. Papatheodorou told Auto123.com that this new circuit was not per say a Formula 1 circuit designed and destined to stage a potential Grand Prix of Greece.

“The project of a circuit in Patras has nothing to do with claiming a Formula 1 race; it merely concerns a peripheral circuit,” Papatheodorou told Auto123.com.

“On the contrary, our proposal -- Dielpis Formula 1 – represents the project of staging an F1 race in the area of the Port of Piraeus. We are the project managers of this proposal, which is based on funds coming from the private sector that we are trying to collect. The public sector will not invest in this project,” the Greek architect added.

The Dielpis project has been officially submitted by the Automobile and Touring Club of Greece (ELPA) following a request filed by the Mayor with FIA and Bernie Ecclestone on November 23, 2011, said Papatheodorou.

“On May 26, 2012, Mr. Bernie Ecclestone in a meeting held with the head of DielpisFormula1, stated his, in principle, acceptance and agreement with the above proposal (DielpisFormula1) and mentioned that the following step is just to find the investor,” he then added.

In July the Minister of Culture sent to Mr. Ecclestone the Greek Government’s official position with regard to the DielpisFormula1 candidacy. And in September, the Deputy Minister of Development issued a press release whereby the expressed his Ministry’s support to the candidacy including the project in the fast track procedure.

“Therefore, there is no other candidacy for an F1 race in Greece save the one submitted by the Municipality of Drapetsona entitled DielpisFormula1, for which we continue our efforts unfailingly,” Papatheodorou concluded.

10/02/12 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

10/02/12 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

10/01/12 Greece has elected to unblock a subsidy of 28.9 million euros (£23m) for the construction of an international standard racing circuit, the Ministry of Development has said. The circuit will be built in Xalandritsa, close to the port city of Patras. Although the country is infamously cash-strapped, the facility will cost €94.6m (£75.5m).

According to Bloomberg, building of the track will be overseen by private investment company Racetrack Patras SA but has been given a government seal of approval, as Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis signed documents to unblock the grants.

The first idea for a Patras circuit was revealed in 2011. In August 2012, it emerged that a marina-based track could be built as a different project in the touristic destination of Piraeus, ten miles outside Athens; since then, no developments have been published. zzzz

The bankrupt government of Greece has endorsed a plan to stage a Formula One Grand Prix in Piraeus, 10 miles from the capital city of Athens.

“We have to support all projects that market Greece,” Sports minister Konstantinos Cavaras said. “The possibility of having Drapetsona host a Formula One race would be very important for the development of Piraeus.”

Fellow minister Costas Tzavaras added: “The main priority of this government is to create instruments of development. In this critical time for our country, every effort that promotes Greece and attracts international interest is welcome and deserves our support.

“The prospect of holding Formula One races in Drapetsona raises expectations for upgrading our tourism product through the promotion of the historic port of Piraeus and the reformation of the broader region. Such a project would create new jobs and place our country anew on the international stage.”

06/12/12 There is another new and interesting 5.2 km (F1) circuit project developing, this time in Piraeus, Greece ... yes, Greece!

Late last year the Federation Internationale de l’ Automobile (FIA) gave the first light for building the first Formula One race track in Greece. The race track is planned to be built in Piraeus, Athens, and most particularly in the municipality of Keratsini-Drapetsona. 

FIA President, Mr. Jean Todt sent a letter to Mayor of Keratsini-Drapetsona, Mr. Loukas Tzanis, expressing his support towards the initiative of Greek DIELPIS, while the Greek application file is already being examined by the technical services of the Federation.

The Greek application was introduced by Mr. Tzanis and the man behind the whole idea, architect Mr. Thanasis Papatheodorou, while it was filed by ELPA and its President Mr. Vasilis Despotopoulos.

Mr. Todt’s reaction came as an unexpected surprise and characterizes the Greek initiative as a highly important one.

“We are very optimistic and hopeful that all will end well” told Mr. Tzanis Espresso daily. “Building a F1 race track in our region is the best thing that could happen, since it would become a means of development for all of the country.” said the Mayor.

Mr. Tzanis added that Mr. Todt sent another letter to Mr. Despotopoulos asking him to forward the Greek application file to FIA’s head of architecture plans.

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