|© AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
Greece’s bid to host a Formula 1 race will be largely a private effort rather than a project subsidised by the government, insisted the developer of the proposed F1 circuit.
In October, Greece’s development ministry released nearly €30 million to have a track built in Chalandritsa, in the proximity of the city of Patras, anticipating the total cost to balloon to be around €95 million.
"Critics in the foreign media believe that the state will subsidise the circuit running cost, this is a false idea," Evangelos Floratos, the head of Racetrack Patras, a private investment company that will cover some 70 percent of the total cost, told Reuters. "This project belongs to the private sector, it does not expect state funding for its operational costs.
“It is also wrongly assumed that we are aiming at organising a Formula 1 race, which is an event often subsidised by the national government. This is not our primary goal," he added clarifying that the circuit will try to hold F1 testing and generate income before bidding for a Grand Prix.
"Let's be clear about this, we are not prepared to pay to be added to the 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."
"Our chief aim is to operate the track 365 days per year, offer a high quality service to motorsport professionals and thus develop business and employment for the local community," he added.
In the debt-ridden nation, Floratos hopes that the circuit will add to the Greece’s income.
"This project will have a significant impact on tourism since the region selected is at a close driving distance from some major tourist destinations in Greece such as Ancient Olympia, Delphi, Epidaurus and Kalavryta,” he pointed out.
"This is a project designed to benefit, not burden the country's citizens," he added.