A rapidly growing passion for motorsports amongst Polish fans has dramatically increased the chances of Krakow eventually hosting its own Formula 1 Grand Prix. For a number of years, Inter Projekt Group has been lauding the merits of its 210 hectare site in Pasternik on the basis of its vital statistics – just 10 kilometres from the city centre, 1700 metres from the airport, and 8 kilometres from the motorway.
With calls for a Polish Grand Prix growing, Krakow would seem to be the ideal location. Not only is it the most attractive destination for tourists in the country, but Krakow is also the birthplace of Poland’s only Formula 1 driver, Robert Kubica. His outstanding Grand Prix performances over the last two years have raised the profile of the sport in Poland dramatically, and strengthened the business case for investment in a world-class venue.
Such a racing track would not come cheaply. The Bahrain Grand Prix Circuit was recently completed at a cost of some $200 million. Hosting venues have to sign a contract with Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Holdings, which controls almost every part of the motorsport. Such contracts, at first glance, are hardly attractive – the host venue, amongst other things, resigns from the right to sell any trackside advertising or TV rights whatsoever, limiting its revenue sources to ticket sales. In addition, they have to pay Formula One Holdings around $15 million per season for the rights to the race. However, the knock-on effects for the region could easily outweigh the initial financial costs – other Grand Prix venues have seen enormous growth in their tourism and leisure sectors across the board.