I don't normally throw a political wobbly into my F1 Blog but what the HELL is going on in Greece?
This is a country which is, like my own, totally broke and so in hock they need to start thinking about selling off a few islands in order to come up with €11 Billion in this years budget so that they can continue to receive the next tranche of ECB Save-the-Eurozone payments to service their debt.
I'd heard the rumours of a Greek GP but put it down to the stark-raving-mad, shoulda-been-committed-to-da-loony-bin versions of Delphic Oracles that abound in F1 webland. I never took it seriously (and this is the kind of context where you want the word I to have a lot more letters in it that you can capitalise, bold and underline to make the point) because we all know that Greece literally has no money whatsoever. We all know that nearly one quarter (24.4% in June this year) of the people in Greece have no job, and now the Guardian is reporting that the Greeks can't even convince the Troika that its proposals are viable:
there is a divergence of views over at least €2bn of the (proposed Greek) cuts with the EU, ECB and IMF officials openly doubting the efficacy of many of the reforms Athens’ coalition government has put forward.
Let's face it, the country is on the cusp of disaster.
The EU/IMF etc. is planning to fund the country to the tune of €31 BILLION subject to agreement on these cuts and the Greek Government's Ministry for Development has "unblocked" (as if they'd been hiding it in the walls) €28.9 Million for the development of an F1 Circuit.
Have they been studying the economics of F1 at all? Have they not seen what happened to their nearest neighbour (and "friend")? I just don't understand the thinking, because it's not Greek money that's being "unblocked" to buy a ticket to the F1 Circus, It's British money, French money, Belgian money, Italian money and German money. I mention these countries because they have/had Grand Prix and are worth looking at:
British GP: Gets NO Government subsidy
French GP: sharing proposed with Belgium fell down due to costs
Belgian GP: Never makes a profit, constantly teetering on the verge of disaster
Italian GP: Well - it is Italy and they're in hock too but the circuits are already operating
German GP: Nurburgring the subject of investigations, corruption scandals and any funding that they get from the state is constantly under threat.
Why would any right minded citizen of any of these countries, be they an F1 fan or not, pay tax to their Government to see it being sent to Europe to fund Greek Grand Prix dreams in the midst of a Greek economic meltdown of epic proportions?
Ministry of Development? Nearly as funny as the Ministry of Funny Walks - Nearly.
Can anyone give me a reason to support this MADNESS?