Cape Town keeps up F1 bid

South Africa's hopes of winning a Formula 1 race back within the next few years remain on course following the latest meetings between the company hoping to organise the race, business parties and politicians

Cape Town keeps up F1 bid

Discussions are taking place about holding a grand prix in Cape Town to attract major tourism to the region - with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone understood to be keen for the world championship to feature a round in Africa once again.

And although an end of September deadline to have rough plans in place for the event has now expired, a spokesman for the company putting the bid together - the Omega Corporation - is confident that plans are progressing sufficiently well for it to be on the schedule as soon as 2007.

The group has now been given until the end of November to finalise its plans - and discussions are accelerating to ensure that a proposal can be put on the table by then.

David Gant, spokesman for the Omega Corporation, said on Monday: "Even this short respite will not be relevant unless there is real evidence of meaningful progress on a daily basis from our side.

"This implies a substantial measure of decisiveness from the prospective stakeholders, in the main the government ministers we have spoken to in respect of conveying our serious intent to Mr. Ecclestone."

Gant said that although nothing was finalised, he felt positive that negotiations were heading in the right direction.

"We remain optimistic about our prospects of bringing the event back to our country," he said. "Everyone we have had discussions with recognises the economic benefits, such as increased tourism, job creation, skills training and industrial development that are associated with staging the event and there is pretty much a consensus that we should make every effort to succeed in our application.

"We are facing stiff competition because a number of countries are very keen to host the event, but we are aware of the very strong support for Cape Town amongst the F1 decision makers."

South African has not hosted a Formula 1 race since Kyalami held the opening round of the 1993 world championship.

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