Formula 1 Coming to Croatia?
Could the above photography become real in my country? Seeing Red Bull, Mercedes GP, Ferrari, McLaren and the rest? For those who don’t know this yet, I come from Croatia, a small European country with great natural beauties and things like that. But this isn’t the topic of this article, it’s something more interesting to Formula 1 fans! It looks like, after the Grobnik Circuit had it’s hayday with Moto GP in the ’80s that world covered racing events might be held here once more!
The idea according to Vecernji List (a Croatian daily newspaper) is to build a racing track some 15 kilometers from the capital Zagreb. Even though most of you didn’t hear about Croatia until know, there is a good possibility this will go through! Why? Here is why!
Plans for the track have been layed out by Hermann Tilke, a well know track designer and architect who is the author of many of today’s grand prix circuits. His work comprises of many modern F1 tracks like Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, Korean International Circuit in South Korea and Jakarta Street Circuit in Indonesia.
The plan is to have the track licensed for different world championship categories, starting with, naturally, Formula 1, then GT1, WTCC, Moto GP and karting. It is planned in according to the highest international standards of FIA so the idea to hold F1 races isn’t that far away.
The thing is, the race track is planned to be build as a multipurpose racing sports center, with private investors covering most, if not all of the expenses. Idea is to have the land occupied by practically a small town, with racing and the track as the main thing over there.
While the Formula 1 is only speculations and guessing, there is no secret that Bernie Ecclestone’s ex-wife, Slavica is from Croatia. While some may see this a bit odd to cite as an argument to this discussion, we feel that it could impact this. There have been talks about Formula 1 coming to Grobnik Circuit a few years back, but nothing of that talk has been realized. This time there is even more grounds for ideas like this, because Zrinko Gregurek is a member of the FIA’s racing council. He talked to both Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt about the project, with opinions from both being positive about the idea.
The main advantages here are the proximity of a major motorway located just under a kilometer away from the track, capitol city Zagreb is located jus a few kilometers away, with many luxury hotels, transportation, airports, city services, restaurants and everything a spectator would need.
Also in Croatian newspapers, information about the costs are really interesting. When Croatia enters European Union (expected in the next few years) the people behind this project are talking about 50 percent lower costs than of similar tracks and centers in for example, Italy or Germany.
At this time, a quite popular skiing event is held in the same proximity on a mountain overlooking Zagreb. With many of the primary concerns like accommodation, transportation and investment plans covered, this may not be such a long shot! There is a big population of potential Formula 1 fans in an area just under 400km away. Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia, Austria are all countries with lots of F1 fans, so we shall wait and see if this generally awesome idea for petrolheads here in Croatia will be realized some time soon.
More information about this can be obtained by Croatian online editions, we recommend using a translator to get some of the info, because all of these are in Croatian now! Check out Vecernji List coverage of the news and T-Portal as well. More information will be published as soon as we get a chance to talk to some of the guys in charge of the whole idea here.
Photo: Red Bull