South African GP Close to Return

South Africa could seal a deal with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone to host a Grand Prix from 2009, the head of a bidding consortium said on Friday

South African GP Close to Return

"We hope then to sign a contract with Mr Ecclestone just before the end of the year which will in turn allow us to host the event starting in 2009," Dave Gant, the CEO of South African F1 bid Company, told a sports investment conference in Cape Town.

Formula One has a history dating back to 1962 in the country and the last South African round of the World Championship was held at Kyalami, north of Johannesburg, in 1993.

The new consortium launched its bid to host races in 2003 and is now waiting for government financial backing for a project it says will boost Africa's biggest economy by a billion rand ($155.4 million) a year.

At present, Africa is the only continent that does not host a Formula One Grand Prix.

"We have been working on this for about 18 months and each day we get more confident that we are going to pull it off," Gant said. "Formula One demonstrably want it to happen, they want it to come here."

The initial agreement would last from the 2009 to 2015 seasons with an option to renew thereafter, he said.

Ecclestone has in the past pushed a South Africa bid and promised last year to bring one of the world's biggest sporting events to Africa.

"We are going to South Africa - it's not a question of if, it's only when," Ecclestone said in November last year. "There will be a South African Grand Prix hosted by Cape Town within five years."

Gant said the South African government backed the idea and was considering the consortium's request for financial assistance.

The bid asks for government to contribute 75 million rand towards the projected 500 million cost to build the circuit and a subsidy of 50 million a year for eight years.

"All we have to finalise from a South African point of view is the extent to which the government is going to participate in this public-private partnership," he said.

"We hope to have finality on that within the next two months."

Formula One Grands Prix were held in East London in 1962, 1963 and 1965 before moving to Kyalami for the next 13 years and again from 1982 to 1985.

The race then disappeared from the Formula One calendar amid sporting boycotts aimed at ending the Apartheid system and financial problems.

More financial problems ended a brief return to the country in 1992 and 1993, the last race being won by Frenchman Alain Prost for Williams.

shares
comments
Q & A with Ralf Schumacher
Previous article

Q & A with Ralf Schumacher

Next article

Grapevine: Exclusive: Mika Denies BMW Contact

Grapevine: Exclusive: Mika Denies BMW Contact
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022