To add to recent big strides in hosting major sports events, South Africa has been rumored as a possible host of a Formula One race in Cape Town in 2016. However, it appears that those hopes are just that. Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has announced that so far there has been little or no progress made on putting a Cape Town Formula One race together.
Ecclestone and Formula One seem to be very open to the possibility of a Cape Town race in 2016 but given the fact that there has been little commitment from the hosts, Ecclestone says the chances of a race coming to fruition are very slim.
“If somebody sits in front of me today, with a pen, and wants to sign a contract there can be a race next year,” he said.
“I think it’s really a case of someone getting behind this and saying, ‘we’re going to make it happen’ because unless somebody does that it will just bumble on like it is with a lot of interest, and when it really comes down to it nobody is really making the effort to do anything.”
Ecclestone suggests that while there have been no concrete deliberations in the recent past, there is still a chance fruitful discussions might hold. However, the Formula One boss says that major Cape Town stakeholders will have to come forward to lead the talks.
“There’s been various suggestions over where the race should be: the one that I thought was sensible for Cape Town and everything was a street race in Cape Town which looked as if it was all going to go ahead, and then didn’t go ahead,” he says.
“Someone needs to be, and speak about this, who’s in a position to make a commitment and there hasn’t been anybody.”
In the last five years, South Africa has hosted the African Cup of Nations and also the World Cup in 2010 to acclaimed success. Recently, Johannesburg also hosted the first ever NBA Africa Game and Durban has been discussed as a potential hot of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
In terms of Formula One, Cape Town previously hosted the event in 1993.
To host a Formula One race, Cape Town will have to put together a proposal with credible backing from government and also some input from the private sector. So far, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi and Singapore have recorded the most expensive hosting costsof a Grand Prix event with fees of over $60 million.
Formula One remains a lucrative commercial entity with earnings of $16.2 billion in the last 15 years– more than FIFA.