Ecclestone backs Cape Town bid

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given his full backing to a bid by a South African consortium to get a grand prix back in the country - and it is expected a race will take place there by 2007

Ecclestone backs Cape Town bid

Although the country has made no secret of its desire to host a race for several months, autosport.com recently revealed that the plans had edged much closer to becoming reality following meetings between the Omega Consortium and Ecclestone.

Speaking about the plans, Ecclestone said: "We are going to South Africa - it's not a question of if, it's only when. There will be a South African Grand Prix hosted by Cape Town within five years...three years, tops.

"It will be good for F1, for South Africa and the city. Plans are well advanced and I believe that the government may well become involved."

The chances of the race definitely being given the go-ahead will depend on the local government stepping in and offering some assistance. Omega is currently in talks to garner support - and is hoping to lodge an official application for the race early next year.

David Gant, spokesman for Omega, told South African newspaper Die Burger: "We have just concluded a constructive round of talks with FOM and have formed the South African F1 Grand Prix Bid Company which will formally apply for the licence in the early part of next year.

"We are currently in continued talks with government in respect of their participation and these are proving extremely positive.

"We already have a commitment from the private sector for 50 percent of the funds that we require from that source. Circuit designer, Hermann Tilke, will be visiting the proposed site in December and will begin the process of design of the track and infrastructure. Bernie's endorsement and clear enthusiasm for the idea is invaluable."

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