Meanwhile in Greece

31/08/2015
NEWS STORY

Dr. Athanassios Papatheodorou, the driving force behind a project (DielpisFormula1) to take F1 to Greece, hasn't given up on the idea, despite the country's much-publicised financial situation.

First mooted in 2011, the proposal for a race in Piraeus, the largest passenger port in Europe and third largest in the world, located around 10 miles from Athens, has seen representatives meet with senior officials from the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone.

While things appeared to have gone quiet, understandable considering the country's ongoing financial situation, Papatheodorou insists it might yet happen.

"There have been several meetings (with Ecclestone)," he told F1WEB.it. "From the first meeting, which was held during the Monaco weekend in May 2012, we covered all his questions and he stated that he agrees with the proposal of DielpisFormula1, he asked that we meet his demands, which at that time were mainly political and legal issues.

"Since then there have been private meetings and continuous communication by email," he continued. "He also officially placed his opinion in major international media on questions made to him according the strong mood of Greece, stating that he supports it and that it depends mostly on our preparation and planning.

"We have also informed the president of the FIA, Jean Todt, who immediately said he was a positive supporter of our proposal, and forwarded the application file to the technical department of the FIA to analyse in order to implement the project.

"Greece is in a period of instability due to political, cultural and economic crisis of the past five years," admitted Papatheodorou. "Contact was made with Tsipras’ government, but the elections were proclaimed and we now wait until after 20 September, which will probably again take time for the prime minister to trigger the necessary legislative procedures in order for Greece to be ready for a first formal agreement with Bernie Ecclestone in October."

Looking to potential investors in the project, he said: "The design includes many facilities outside the city circuit such as hotels, casinos, marina, museums, mall etc. This makes the investment viable and highly tempting for anyone who wants to invest and have a Formula 1 race.

"Deloitte, which has experience from many tracks around the world, has prepared a feasibility study of the project which shows that the investment is viable with very short payback of capital invested."

Sadly, one only has to look at the fate of the Istanbul Park Circuit, now a "used car lot", to realise that this is one gift of an investment from the Greeks that one should probably ignore… at least for now.

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Published: 31/08/2015
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