Whispers for a Formula One track in Greece have been doing the rounds in local racing circles for many years, but it appears that a grand prix in the austerity-hit country could be on the horizon. “Formula 1 Mediterranean Grand Prix” was registered as a trademark on May 30 by Bernie Ecclestone’s company, Formula One Licensing.
Speaking to CNN, Ecclestone said: “The Greeks are keen… They want me to go and see the Prime Minister or the Mayor…We will find out if they have got any money.”
The race is on for private investors to construct a track in the Keratsini-Drapetsona municipality, six miles to the west of Athens. Financial studies have been carried out and not only is the project at the stage where it is seeking backers, but it also has the full endorsement of the Greek government with reports that Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras sent a letter to Keratsini-Drapetsona Mayor Loukas Tzanis lending his full support to the construction of a track in the area.
Track architect Athanasios Papatheodorou said that the benefits of having a track are manifold. “The greatest benefit for our country would be giving the world the opportunity to see the most historical port of the Mediterranean Sea,” he says, adding that Greece’s experience at organizing the Athens Olympic Games is a big credential. Though the 2004 Athens Olympics were a bombastic success, Greece has come under scrutiny for letting its venues decay.
And a video of the track circuit –
Greece’s past Formula One Track efforts
1950 – Vassilis Despotopoulos, former president of the Greek Automobile Club and a member of the World Motor Sport Council, started to get the ball rolling with various unsuccessful attempts to build a Formula One track in Greece.
2006 – Fresh from the euphoria of the 2004 Athens Olympics, a Mediterranean Grand Prix in Greece was suggested by Autosport magazine. It was stated that the race could be rotated between a number of circuits, starting with Valencia in 2008 and then Paul Ricard in France the year after.
October 2012 – Greece unblocked a subsidy of 28.9 million euros ($37.2 million) for the construction of an international- standard Formula One car racing track in Chalandritsa, but came under fire and the idea was subsequently abandoned.