Last month, the Formula 1 world was abuzz with the – utterly unrealistic – suggestion that Formula 1 could stage a Grand Prix around the streets of London.
This month, it’s Greece’s turn to take over that mantle, with a proposal being put together that suggests the port city of Piraeus (pictured above) could stage its own marina-style Grand Prix.
Piraeus – a popular destination for tourists – is located some 10 miles from the country’s capital city, Athens.
The mooted proposal is for a semi-street circuit layout around Piraeus’ port hub, with the circuit utilising already-established streets and the laying of new roads to create a suitable track layout.
Apparently Greece’s newly-appointed government is supporting the initiative, but the idea seems completely unworkable given the country’s mammoth debts which triggered the Eurozone debt crisis earlier this year.
“The main priority of this government is to create instruments of development,” culture minister Costas Tzavaras was quoted as saying by Autoweek.
“In this critical time for our country, every effort that promotes Greece and attracts international interest is welcome and deserves our support.
“The prospect of holding Formula 1 races in Drapetsona raises expectations for upgrading our tourism product through the promotion of the historic port of Piraeus.”
Financial matters aside, one would question why F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone would want to commit to another race in Europe when he’s trying to broaden the sport’s appeal in developing markets in the Americas and Asia.
Equally, Greece has little in the way of a grassroots motorsport culture, aside from staging rounds of the Acropolis Rally.
That being said, one could argue that the absence of a motorsport culture wasn’t exactly a stumbling block for the sport’s more recent calendar additions, such as Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Korea.
It’s all well and good when you’re an oil-rich Arab nation with deep pockets to help bankroll a race, but Greece couldn’t be further from that situation if it tried.
Lofty ambitions are one thing, but if you don’t have the cash and you’re putting your citizens through massive austerity measures, then a Grand Prix shouldn’t even be at the forefront of your thinking.
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