Updated | Motorsport federation concerned over lack of progress on race track

After presenting the government with a proposal for the development of a motorsport race track, the Malta Motorsport Federation laments the lack of official response

A proposal for a racing track put forward by the Motorsport Federation has lost traction with government, it seems
A proposal for a racing track put forward by the Motorsport Federation has lost traction with government, it seems

Updated at 4.45pm with government response

There has been no progress on a proposal for a motorsport race track despite repeated government promises that it would identify land for the project, the motorsport federation said.

The Malta Motorsport Federation said it was concerned over the lack of response from the government to a proposal it put forward a few months ago for a three-kilometre racetrack.

The federation lifted the lid on what it described as “a very feasible and viable” proposal drawn up together with a team of architects from Periti Studio.

The federation's proposal also includes a 1.2km karting track
The federation's proposal also includes a 1.2km karting track

The plans and studies were in line with limitations imposed by the Planning Authority’s local plans, the federation said. It did not supply visuals of the proposed track and neither did it suggest a location for the track.

A spokesperson for the federation told MaltaToday that the plans were based on an actual site within the development zones but the federation would not divulge the details as yet to give the government space to do so itself.

“This proposal… incorporates all the facilities expected for an internationally homologated 3-kilometre racetrack, which is in line with the government’s vision of sustainability and environmental consciousness,” the federation said.

Motorsport enthusiasts and professionals have long asked for a racing track to be able to practice their sport
Motorsport enthusiasts and professionals have long asked for a racing track to be able to practice their sport

The federation highlighted that the proposal included a road safety driving learning facility, a 1.2km karting track, and a 1km track for the use of cycling athletes, along with open spaces.

“The federation is very concerned with the lack of progress and feedback by the government in fulfilling the electoral pledge. Although high ranking government officials have been quoted on several news portals that in the beginning of 2019, the government will be announcing the site and plans for the development of the race track, this seems to be very unrealistic and unlikely to happen any time soon,” the federation said, adding that it expected the government to act on the matter.

Motorsport enthusiasts and professionals have long called for the creation of a racing track and the promise found its way into the electoral manifesto of both major parties in the last election.

In November last year, Sports Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima confirmed that the government was looking at developing a car racing track of between two kilometres and 2.7km.

The track would satisfy the minimum international requirements to hold Formula 3 races, Grima had said, indicating that it would cover some 170,000sq.m. of public land.

However, since then there has been no progress on the matter. The Nationalist Party also came out in favour of a race track.

A MaltaToday survey last November found that 71.6% of people agreed with a racing track with just 17.6% opposed to the idea.

READ ALSO: Overwhelming support for Gozo-Malta tunnel, racetrack

In its statement the federation said that the motorsport scene could not risk losing more talent. “Upcoming young drivers are dropping out of motor racing due to the lack of facilities. It will be our fault, if the country will not provide the necessary facility to incentivise our youths to remain active in the sport and become future European champions.”

Government reaffirms commitment

The government is committed to fulfil its pledge to ensure motorsport enthusiasts get a racing track, Sports Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima said.

He was reacting to the concerns expressed by the Malta Motorsport Federation earlier today.

Grima said a “detailed process” was currently underway to identify the ideal zone for the project and where studies could be carried out.

“The federation knows full well of these developments as a result of various meetings that have been held and it makes no sense that information starts being divulged in public while these discussions are ongoing,” Grima said.

He insisted the government had no interest in pitting sportspeople with environmentalists and residents.

“The government’s only aim is to make the right choice so that the project can be done in a sustainable way that respects everyone,” he added.

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