Just months after a consortium led by Danish business magnate, Saxo Bank co-founder, Lars Seier Christensen, proposed a street race in Copenhagen, gaining the approval of F1 boss, Chase Carey, the project was shelved due to funding issues.
“The government is prepared to put some money into the hosting of Formula 1 in Denmark,” Finance Minister, Kristian Jensen told Politiken at the time the race was first proposed, “but we don’t think it’s reasonable that the city where such a large event is to take place does not also contribute economically.”
Revealing that other regions, including Odense, Herning and Horsens, had usually made significant financial contributions in order to secure sporting events, most notably the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, Jensen said: “We ask all cities to be a part of funding when a major sporting event is in town. So it is also fair for Copenhagen Municipality to do this. If we are to continue on this path, we in the government expect Copenhagen Municipality to be prepared to contribute financially to the hosting of Formula 1 in Denmark.”
However, come September, Jensen confirmed that the plans had been scrapped, citing the lack of support from the Copenhagen authorities.
“I am asking for it to be stopped now,” he told Politiken. “That means that I have told my colleagues in the small minority (of supporters) that I have, that this is my view. They have taken it into account.
“I went into this positively,” he added, “and have openly assessed whether it would be possible to bring Formula 1 to Denmark and Copenhagen for a three-year period. As things have progressed, it has become clear that there are high expectations regarding public funding for the race.
“The narrow majority I had at Copenhagen City Hall supporting this project has always maintained that it must not cost the municipality money.”
Two years down the line, and Danish politician Helge Sander, who has been working with Christensen, admits that while, having given up on Copenhagen, a number of other cities were looked at, however without assistance from the government the project cannot go ahead.
“The Formula One organisation mandated me to explore alternative possibilities,” he told BT.DK, “and I have been in contact with a number of cities.
“Two of them – Aalborg and Roskilde – were realistic, and there was both municipal support and specific interest from private investors. But such a large project also requires government support.”
Meanwhile, Business Minister, Simon Kollerup while releasing a statement rejecting the proposal, offered hope that the project might yet be revived in the future.
“This is a project that is both complex and risky and will require broad support,” he said. “This also showed the course and the previous considerations about F1 in Copenhagen.
“The project is not a priority for the government right now,” he admitted, “but I recognise the green steps that Formula 1 is taking and I would like to hear more about this development further down the road.”
“These years there are a number of countries struggling to get onto the calendar,” said a disappointed Sander, “and I know from my meetings with the Formula 1 organisation that they would very much like to race in Denmark.”