The recent stories about Formula 1 in Greece have not sounded very sensible, given the economic realities of Greece at the moment. There may be some logic in using motorsport to revive parts of the economy, but the story seems to have been extrapolated into something it is not. Formula 1 is expensive and investing in a Grand Prix is not the thing for politicians to be doing at the moment. However, there is nothing wrong with investing in a racing circuit if it is felt that this will create jobs and the potential for more jobs later when there are events at such a venue. People seem to be confusing the two ideas. A small subsidy to build a race track could be a smart investment, but $37.67 million does not even scratch the surface of Grand Prix budgets these days. A serious F1 bid would require a commitment to 10 times that amount of money. The company that is planning to build the track is called Racetrack Patras and it has said that the media has been wrong to assume that the aim is to host an F1 race. That might be part of a longer term plan but only if the money is available.
“This project belongs to the private sector, it does not expect state funding for its operational costs,” said Evangelos Floratas, a former mayor of Patras, who is behind Racetrack Patras. “It is also wrongly assumed that we are aiming at organising a Formula 1 race, which is an event often subsidised by national government. This is not our primary goal. We are not prepared to pay to be added to the [Formula 1] calendar at this point. It is something we will think about at a later date if and when someone – in government or the private sector – wishes to subsidise it.”
The goal is to build a circuit near the village of Chalandritsa, which is located a few miles south of the city of Patras, which is at the northern end of the Peloponnese peninsula, close to the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth, to the west of Athens.