Greece mulls F1 track UPDATE #6 The Greek Tourism Development Ministry has finalized the conditions required for locations which are bidding to be the venue of a Formula 1 track in Greece. There are several different plans for racing circuits in the country with the major bids coming from Orchomenos, near Thebes; from the port of Patras in the west and from the island of Crete. Grandprix.com
01/09/06 Bernie Ecclestone visited Greek capital city Athens at the weekend.
The F1 supremo inspected the Hellinikon Olympic Complex, a venue for the Olympic Games in 2004, as a possible site of a future grand prix.
Located at Elliniko, the site - formerly an international airport - was earlier ruled out as a possible F1 site as authorities wanted to turn it into a housing area.
But Bernie is thought to favor Hellinikon, as it is 80km closer to Athens than another possible venue, Orchomenos.
''It is a beautiful location,'' Greek journalist Dmitris Papadopoulos told the UK's Guardian newspaper.
He said: ''It's overlooking the water and could be made into a parkland circuit like the Albert Park track in Melbourne. It would be the best possible prospect for a Greek GP.''
10/05/05 Greece is carrying out a feasibility study into the construction of a Formula One track, Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said Wednesday. "The ministry is in the process of drawing up a draft law that lays out the legal and institutional conditions to advance in the coming months," the construction of a track, Avramopoulos said after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis.
Avramopoulos, who did not give any details on the proposed location of the circuit, said "interest in this project was big... and the organization behind Formula One was also interested."
Greece has sought to benefit from the good reputation it gained from the highly successful hosting of the Olympics 2004 to attract international sporting events using sites built for the Athens Games. AFP
09/06/05 There are reports in Greece that Bernie Ecclestone and the Greek government are discussing plans to hold a race in Athens as early as 2007. This could be achieved because the city has a ready-made venue at the Helliniko Olympic Complex. Once the city's airport, Helliniko was turned into a venue for a number of sports during the 2004 Olympic Games and the site now features hockey, softball, baseball, basketball, canoeing and fencing facilities and stadia. The aim now is to turn the area into a large park, supporting sporting, cultural and recreational activities. Close inspection on the site reveals a very obvious opportunity to use a perimeter road as a racing circuit and the logical course of action would be for the facility to follow the model set by Melbourne with the race track being used once a year and then being returned to its normal parkland status. This would be quick, easy and cheap.
Helliniko is within easy reach of the new international airport and not far from the downtown area. There are good access roads to both the east and west of the area and plenty of space for run-off areas and other F1 facilities. There is already a go-kart track right next to the venue and so noise would not be a major problem. The plan is for subway and suburban light railways to be extended south from the city centre to the park and with the Saranic Gulf just across the road Helliniko could be a scenic venue.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is also the Culture Minister and the development of Helliniko will come under his portfolio. A decision is expected to be made shortly. Grandprix.com 08/25/05 Athens' old airport at Elliniko has been ruled out as a possible venue for a formula one circuit. But the Greek government's minister for planning and public works, George Souflias, said on Wednesday that it was only not suitable because the area would become residential.
''I am not against a formula one race track being built in Greece,'' he said, according to the Chinese 'Xinhua' agency, ''but ... only with the appropriate infrastructure and facilities.'' Greece wants a grand prix to boost tourism.
05/16/05 Spies in Athens report that Bahrain International Circuit chief Martin Whitaker is arriving in the city today and will spend the next few days visiting possible venues for a proposed Greek Grand Prix. There are believed to be two sites which are being looked at closely: the first at Orchomenos, a famous archeological site near the city of Levadeia to the north-west of Thebes in the Viotia region or central Greece; the second on the Peloponnese peninsula near the city of Patras, at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth. This is now the main seaport from which to travel to from the Italian seaport of Brindisi. Grandprix.com
[Editor's Note: Where will all their possible new F1 venues fit in the schedule when it is already at 19? Answer - they won't and if Champ Car plays its cards right and comes out with an exciting next generation car in 2007 it has a chance to scoop up many more significant venues that might want an F1 race but can't get one, or lose the one they have. Of course it's not only an issue of having a proper car and engine, but the marketing, PR and Administration staff must be in place to function like a true global sports property. We are glad to hear that Champ Car is opening an office in Beijing to look after its Asian races - South Korea, Japan and of course Beijing itself. ]
03/09/05 Greece is considering building a Formula One track to tune up the country's vital tourism industry. "There are some plans on the table about the creation of a Formula One racing track. It requires some caution but it is something we could see as positive," Sports Minister Giorgos Orphanos told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said that a possible location was the Viotia region, about 100 kilometres north of Athens. He said a final decision would be announced soon.