Entrepreneur holds out hope for Danish Formula 1 race

A project to bring a Formula 1 event to Copenhagen has been officially scrapped, but one of the concept’s promotors has not yet given up hope of seeing the sport come to Denmark.

Entrepreneur holds out hope for Danish Formula 1 race
Driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in November. Photo: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar/Ritzau Scanpix

Helge Sander, an entrepreneur, former MP and the primary backer of the original project, said that he was interested in finding an alternative Danish location for Formula 1.

“The positive vibe around Formula 1 has naturally caused other municipalities to react,” Sander said.

“If a sufficiently interesting project emerges elsewhere in Denmark, it should naturally be tried, provided the relevant practical, sustainable and economic conditions are fulfilled,” he said.

The municipalities in question do not currently wish to be named, Sander said, adding that the sport’s licensing body Formula One Management would have the final say on the matter.

But the Formula 1 calendar is evidence that any Danish Grand Prix would not have to be held in the country’s capital, he said.

The entrepreneur said he remained disappointed by the lack of government and municipal support for using the streets of Copenhagen as a race track.

Sander’s proposal for the city had been approved by the Formula 1 management in London and regulator FIA.

But that project is now officially over, despite two years of preliminary work costing several million Danish kroner.

The company used for the campaign, the Society for Promotion of Formula 1 in Copenhagen (Foreningen til Fremme af Formel 1 i København), has now been deregistered as a company and with tax authorities, Sander confirmed.

That comes after Copenhagen Lord Mayor said in September that he no longer viewed the concept as politically viable.

“We had to take in the shock of that announcement, but we have to accept that right now it is not possible to arrange a Formula 1 race in Copenhagen, even though I have received positive messages almost daily since the mayor’s announcement,” Sander said.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen lord mayor parks Formula 1 project


Copenhagen lord mayor parks Formula 1 project

Danish motorsport fans’ dreams of seeing Formula 1 in the streets of Copenhagen appear to have broken down after the city’s lord mayor Frank Jensen said the project would be shelved.

Copenhagen lord mayor parks Formula 1 project
Copenhagen's lord mayor Frank Jensen. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Jensen has advised finance minister Kristian Jensen and entrepreneur Helge Sander, the primary backer of the project, not to take plans any further.

“I am asking for it to be stopped now. 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,” Jensen told newspaper Politiken on Friday.

The plans to bring the event to Copenhagen, which last year saw details released of a potential track in the streets of the city, was too high-risk to continue with, Jensen said.

“I went into this positively 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 motor race,” he said.

“The narrow majority I had at Copenhagen City Hall supporting this project has always maintained that it must not cost the municipality money,” he continued.

The lord mayor also said he felt that the project had not had a unifying effect in the city.

Finance minister Kristian Jensen had also set requirements for the project including overall political support from the municipality, which was found to be lacking.

The plan, which was headed by former MP Sander and millionaire Lars Seier Christensen had an estimated minimum investment of 300 million kroner (40.3 million euros).

It could have seen drivers Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and company racing in Copenhagen in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

But doubt emerged earlier this year over the viability of the plan, with disagreements between the city's municipality and the government over funding.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen Formula 1 plan in doubt over municipal financing