Greece is interested in securing a Formula One grand prix, according to the motor-racing world championship’s chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone.
News website CNN reported that on May 30, Formula One Licensing registered ‘Formula 1 Mediterranean Grand Prix’ as a trademark, while private investors are looking at the possibility of constructing a new circuit in Keratsini-Drapetsona, six miles to the west of Athens.
“The Greeks are keen,” Ecclestone said. “They want me to go and see the Prime Minister (Antonis Samaras) or the Mayor (Georgios Kaminis). We will have to find out if they have got any money.”
An anticipated total investment of up to $1bn (€760m) in a new track and the race’s hosting fee would be controversial considering Greece’s tumultuous recent financial history. The country has received more than €150bn in bailouts and unemployment is still above 27 per cent.
Athanasios Papatheodorou, the track architect for the prospective race promoter Dielpis, said that “the Prime Minister himself has supported fully the initiative for organising F1 races and is looking forward to the instruction from the relevant international federations to realise the Dielpis Formula 1 project.”
He added: “The greatest benefit for our country would be giving to the world the opportunity to see the most historical port of the Mediterranean Sea, and our experience at organising big events, such as the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, is a big credential for us.”