South Africa Motorsport: What Cape Town GP?
12 July 2011
Bernie Ecclestone says a South African Formula 1 GP is just "a couple of weeks" away from getting a green light but Motorsport South Africa is not holding its breath.
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said a Cape Town GP could be held "within two years".
Even though the F1 supremo seems sure the GP will take place in 2013, Motorsport South Africa (MSA) is doubtful. MSA's chief executive officer Francois Pretorius says the organisation would support hosting an F1 event in South Africa, but was not even aware of a Cape Town GP bid.
Pretorius says the F1 boss is notorious for making bold statements but that MSA had no conformation of the proposed Grand Prix.
“Mr Ecclestone is notorious for making off-the-cuff statements to elicit reaction. We have not received any confirmation in this regard,” said Pretorius.
George Nyabadza, chairman of MSA’s directors, said their a number of conditions must be met before South Africa could play host a GP. “F1 enjoys very little support in countries where there is no representation. Only when we can wave our rainbow flag will there be public interest and national unity,” he claimed.
The MSA would also like to know much funding would be generated for motorsport development, particularly among women and black youth.
Nyabadza said it would be irresponsible to host an F1 race and not have the stakeholders invest a portion of the proceeds in critical segments adding that "there would be no legacy for the sport”.
Nyabadza says an economic study would be needed to weigh the impact of an event as large as an F1 GP, particularly the costs involved. That, however, would be in the domain of national government and sponsors.
MSA's current position is that it would only support a South African F1 GP if it provided concrete benefits to the grassroots development of motorsport in South Africa.