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Greece harbours Formula One hope

ESPN Staff
August 10, 2012 « Buemi closing in on 2013 race seat | Maldonado shows off to his home fans in Caracas »
Formula One last visited Greece when Mark Webber drove a Red Bull across the Rio Antirio bridge in 2007 © Getty Images

The Greek government has leant its backing to a proposal to host a grand prix in the port of Piraeus near Athens.

The initiative comes from the municipality of Drapetsona - an area of Piraeus which is ten miles from the capital Athens - which wants to redevelop a disused industrial area to incorporate a 3.23-mile circuit. With Greece facing severe economic problems, sports minister Konstantinos Cavaras confirmed that the project had the backing of the government, but did not mention where the funding would come from.

"We have to support all projects that market Greece," Cavaras is quoted by Autoweek. "The possibility of having Drapetsona host a Formula One race would be very important for the development of Piraeus."

Fellow minister Costas Tzavaras also leant his support to the bid, saying a race would generate worldwide interest.

"The main priority of this government is to create instruments of development," he said. "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 One races in Drapetsona raises expectations for upgrading our tourism product through the promotion of the historic port of Piraeus and the reformation of the broader region. Such a project would create new jobs and place our country anew on the international stage."