Q&A: F1 In South Africa Could Soon Be A Reality

Q&A: F1 In South Africa Could Soon Be A Reality

Formula One does not currently have a race on their annual calendar in Africa, making it the only continent that is not represented in motor-sport’s flagship competition. This is something that could be set to change in the coming years, if the efforts of the people at Cape Town Grand Prix South Africa come to fruition.

The company is working hard to bring an F1 race back to South African shores, and the Mother City is their target destination, with an incredible street track proposed which envisions F1 cars hurtling around the Greenpoint Sports Precinct and countless fans from around the world descending on Cape Town in order to follow the cars and drivers who bring their beloved sport to life.

With the return of Grand Prix action for the year this past weekend, AFKSports spoke to Chief Executive Officer for the Cape Town Grand Prix bid, Igshaan Amlay to discuss the possibility of F1 returning to South Africa.

AFKSports: What are the current chances of Cape Town being added to the 2016 Formula One calendar at this point?

Amlay: We still have a long road ahead of us where studies like Environmental Impact Assessments and Financial Impact Assessments need to be completed as well as stakeholder engagements, however, to be realistic we can look at 2017/2018 should we get the necessary buy-in from all important stakeholders.

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AFKSports: Africa is currently not represented on the F1 calendar. Are there any other African cities that you are aware of which are bidding to host a race in the near future?

Amlay: There has been talk of countries like Morocco and Nigeria looking at the feasibility of hosting this prestiges event, however, Cape Town has been rated as one of the top destinations in the world, and what better place than having it on our very own “African Riviera”.

AFKSports: Your company has been working for many years to solidify a bid for Cape Town which Bernie Ecclestone and F1 would take seriously. What is missing to finalise the details and secure a Cape Town F1 race?

Amlay: Currently we are busy with stakeholder engagement and have received the desired support from the ratepayers within the area.

Proposed Cape Town F1 Track Imagined
Proposed Cape Town F1 Track Imagined

AFKSports: Is local and national government supporting the idea of an annual F1 race in Cape Town?

Amlay: We are planning to engage the City of Cape Town and Provincial Government in due course.

AFKSports: What benefits will a Grand Prix race in Cape Town provide for South Africa?

Amlay: It will definitely boost the economy as well as introduce a new visitor profile for the country.

AFKSports: In terms of the benefits to the tourism industry, how many visiting F1 fans would you expect to travel to Cape Town for the race on an annual basis?

Amlay: The Formula One Grand Prix has a global following of 50 000+ spectators who buy tickets to every race and travel with them. That is aside from your average follower.

AFKSports: Why do you believe that an F1 race would be better hosted in Cape Town versus Johannesburg?

Amlay: Cape Town has the biggest motor-sport following on the African continent and a street race with tourist attractions as natural backdrops. It is a no-brainer.

AFKSports: Have potential corporate sponsors and partners been in contact with your company to help support this initiative, or have any businesses revealed their interest to work with you should the bid be successful?

Amlay: Yes, we have been approached by investors with serious interest and are currently engaging with a potential investor who is prepared to fund from start to finish.

AFKSports: What can South Africans do to help you fulfil your mission of ensuring that F1 returns for the enjoyment of local audiences?

Amlay: We need the ongoing support from not only the people living in our country, but also from the big corporates doing business here.