South Africa return edges closer

The return of the South African Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar appears closer than ever - with sport supremo Bernie Ecclestone believed to be ready to give the event the green light at the expense of Silverstone, autosport.com can reveal

South Africa return edges closer

Although Cape Town's bid to host a race has been widely reported in the past, insiders have told autosport.com that Ecclestone is on the verge of giving official approval to the project after meeting representatives of the company bankrolling the project.

A development company, the Omega Consortium, has been pushing hard for the deal and it is understood that they have given Ecclestone enough proof of their intent to put on a race for him to be ready to give them a slot on the future F1 calendar - and perhaps as early as 2006.

And although the calendar is currently packed with events, the continued uncertainty over the British Grand Prix's future allied with Cape Town's willingness to put on a race appears to have swayed Ecclestone's opinion.

Ecclestone himself suggested on Wednesday morning that his frustration with talks over Silverstone's future had boiled over thanks to interest from another country - believed to South Africa.

Speaking about pulling out of the Silverstone negotiations, Ecclestone said: "What could I do? I have got an offer from another country who are looking to build a lovely venue and invest a lot of money in Formula 1 - and they will pay the going rate. I have to give them a year's notice to go ahead. If I miss that because I am still messing about with the BRDC [Silverstone's owners], I would be keeping out a country that desperately wants to be in the Formula 1 world championship."

A site for the South African Grand Prix has already been earmarked near Cape Town airport. The country's government is also being canvassed at the moment to waive its current ban on tobacco advertising to act as a further incentive for Ecclestone.

The inclusion of a new race in South Africa on the calendar, if it came at the expense of Silverstone, would make it incredibly hard for the British Grand Prix to ever find its way back onto the calendar.

Alex Hooton, chief executive of the British Racing Drivers' Club that owns Silverstone said: "It is always more difficult to put something back after it has fallen down than it is to continue to maintain something. It would obviously be a backwards step if we lost the race."

shares
comments
BRDC won't give up on GP

Previous article

BRDC won't give up on GP

Next article

Preview: Coulthard Bows Out in Brazil

Preview: Coulthard Bows Out in Brazil
Load comments
Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021