South Africa could be hosting a Formula One Grand Prix after 18 years since it was last hosted on African soil. Bernie Ecclestone, F1’s president and CEO, said he hopes a circuit will be completed in Cape Town in three years’ time.
Singapore, China, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi have been added to the race calendars, India is staging its first Grand Prix this year, and the United States is expected to stage one in 2012. The first Cape Town Grand Prix has been proposed for September 2013.
Ecclestone said that South Africa hosting the World Cup had persuaded him that F1 should be looking to have a presence in Africa and said “We have been talking to the people in South Africa for quite a long time off and on. The chances are OK. It’s a case of getting the right venue always. We’ve been talking to the people in Cape Town.”
Motorsport SA said that they would only support a Formula 1 Grand Prix in South Africa if organisers ensured that South African drivers would also be included in the grid, or at least given the opportunity.
A Cape Town based company, one of three organisations bidding for Cape Town to host a Grand Prix, had set up a meeting and proposal for Ecclestone in London and this seems to be pointing towards it becoming more of a reality.
Estimates show that building a track could cost as much as R4 billion, however upgrading our existing infrastructure to FIA standards is estimated at around R100 million; making the track like the Monaco Grand Prix style circuit and therefore more feasible in South Africa.
The 5.3 kilometre circuit would start and end in the Cape Town Stadium (going through one entrance, a series of tight corners, and out through another entrance), twisting along roads in Sea Point, Green Point and Mouille Point, and the pit-lanes would be situated along Beach Road in Green Point. Seemingly the layout of the circuit would also make it one of the fastest tracks in the world.