MAY 8, 2000
Syracuse building F1 track
WE hear that the city of Syracuse in south-eastern Sicily is planning to build a Formula 1 standard racing circuit, backed by the local government but funded by private enterprise. The intention is to use the track to help to promote the local tourist trade. Syracuse was one of the largest and most powerful cities in the ancient world. It dates back to 734 BC and for a time it rivaled Athens as Greece's most important city.
In the 1920s the city began to hold races on a 3.3-mile road circuit just outside the city and in the 1950s the Syracuse╩Grand╩Prix was a major non-championship Formula 1 event. In 1955 it was the site of Tony Brook's historic victory for the Connaught team, the first foreign Grand Prix victory for a British car since Henry Segrave's victory for Sunbeam in the 1923 French Grand Prix. Syracuse briefly switched to Formula 2 regulations in the early 1960s but then returned to F1 and held a major non-championship race each year until 1967 when it finally disappeared from the international calendar. By then the nearby Enna-Pergusa circuit had taken over. The cancellation of the Targa Florio after the 1973 event and the departure of Formula 3000 from Enna in 1999 have meant that Sicily has not had any international events in recent years.
While winning the Italian Grand Prix would be most unlikely Syracuse could offer Formula 1 teams a good place for warm weather testing as they are currently reliant on Barcelona, Jerez and Estoril where the weather can sometimes be bad.
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