The media world has been buzzing with renewed vigour about Cape Town’s F1 Grand Prix Bid after F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone chatted to Eye Witness News on 94.5 KFM radio and dropped the bombshell that Cape Town could be hosting one of the World’s premier sports event within “two years”.
Bernie “the Motorsport Supremo” Ecclestone (as we like to call him here at MyCityByNight) added that while he was unable to give any precise details about what was on the cards, he could let everyone know that a street circuit would work quite nicely, nestled between the Waterfront and Greenpoint. Then to plonk the proverbial cherry on top of the exclusive interview Bernie told EWN Cape Town that the negotiations were in the final stages and that he was hoping to make a decision as soon as the F1 lawyers had given it a once over (real good look) within the next couple of weeks.
I reckon that this is a fairly major step towards the establishment of a F1 Grand Prix calendar event in what is surely the most beautiful city in the world (Cape Tonian bias creeping in there a little bit) since the original bids, which had aligned proposed circuits to the airport, the West Coast and of course the third in Green Point. The company that has undertaken bringing the Monaco styled F1 dream to The Mother City (and most likely option given the 2 year time frame suggested by Bernie) is Cape Town Grand Prix SA, which has formally submitted a bid to F1 officials with Green Point and the awesome Cape Town Stadium at its centre that led to Bernie Ecclestone breaking his silence on the matter. Cape Town Grand Prix SA is led by 41-year-old Igshaan Amlay, who was jailed as a teen back in 1987 as a student during a protest against the rather terrible Apartheid Government- and man am I sure glad that he got out and that this country turned out as awesome as it did. Aint no F1 happening with Verwoerd around.
I’m a big motorsport fan and an even bigger Cape Town lover and I know that it would bring a massive smile to my face when the city packs out with the rich and famous and a collection of #mooiness that would make your eyes water. I can already picture those Formula One racing cars roaaarrrring in and out of street-level entrances to Cape Town Stadium come 2013 while the African sun tickles the ocean and Table Mountain that surrounds the track. Yup- I’ll take that any freaking day.
The inclusion of the stadium in the race is one of Cape Town Grand Prix SA’s ideas for the 2013 event, and it involves the use of the exit and entry points at street level as well as the stadium’s seating so spectators can watch the action at close quarters during the proposed race month of September.
Esther Henderson, the company’s chief communications officer, explained that there would be a chicane inside the stadium to slow them down and get some really epic noise from the acceleration through the twisties. Apparently, no major changes need to be made to the 55 000 capacity stadium. However, Henderson added that the biggest adjustment would be lifting the pitch and laying tar in line with the standard set by the International Automobile Federation, the world governing body of motorsport. Once the three-day Formula One event ended, the tar would then need to be re-covered with the traditional playing pitch (what a job!).
Unfortunately this sort of thing does cost a little bit of cash with infrastructure upgrades rumoured to be around R670 Million, which is a steal when compared to the R4 Billion it would cost to a build a new circuit. The small matter of some nasty people that don’t enjoy fun or life at all in the Greenpoint area is also bound to be another hurdle in the race for the races (there are 3 old age homes along the proposed circuit), but I’m sure sanity will prevail and that these residents would give the ok if there was adequate planning and consultation. As of today, the city’s mayoral council member for tourism, Grant Pascoe maintained that hosting the event was in line with the city’s goal to “establish Cape Town as the events capital” of the country but that the city had not yet been approached with a proposal to host the event, and could therefore not yet consider it.
The last South African Grand Prix was run at Kyalami in 1993, and was won by Alain Prost- yup… that long ago. It is still in the stage where a great deal of work would need to be done to get the F1 boss and his team’s approval along with the necessary support from South Africa and Cape Town.
Once Cape Town Grand Prix SA has the opportunity to meet Sports and Recreation minister Fikile Mbalula about the bid and chat to all the parties involved I reckon the details as to whether it is going to happen or not will begin to become more concrete than the days of the original reports earlier this year in the Argus and now with the latest EWN announcement. Till then I’d say its advisable to start buying yourself some property on the new Cape Town Golden Strip- I know I’m giving my bank manager a call this week, you see, I’m an optimist 🙂