The return of F1 to Africa and more specifically to South Africa seems closer than ever: negotiations are accelerating for the return of the Grand Prix to Kyalami next year (see our article).
Stefano Domenicali flew to South Africa this week to meet promoters and circuit representatives such as Warren Scheckter, nephew of the only African F1 champion, Jody Scheckter.
However, not long ago, doubts accumulated about the possibility of a credible return of the Grand Prix, given the accumulated delay on the circuit, not to mention the deep crisis that the nation is going through the rainbow Martí (see our article).
But for Warren Scheckter precisely, responding to the BBC, the Grand Prix can participate in the economic renewal of the Kyalami region. With the hand of F1 to organize the race?
“You have to see what a Formula One event really brings to a country.”
“Everyone sees it as a very glamorous sport, but the reality of what it does for a country is that it creates a big boost.
“From an economic point of view, you can see what he has done for events around the world. There is a great contribution to GDP. »
“This is a contribution of several million rand [sud-africains] GDP, which creates thousands of jobs, attracts tens of thousands of tourists and basically creates a huge economic stimulus for the country. »
“So it brings a lot to the community and the country. It’s such a boost for the whole country that it’s definitely worth the investment.”
“There will be more funding for all the other initiatives that the country needs a lot: more housing, schools, health and other things like that. There will be more foreign exchange inflows into the economy and the economy will be strengthened.”
So Jody’s nephew continues to calm the controversy that would inevitably arise in his country: why fund a Grand Prix when power outages are frequent? In addition, Warren Scheckter assures that the race will cost the public authorities the least.
“This initiative is funded mainly by the private sector, so it is very important to understand it. »
“It simply came to our notice then. Through a national tourist tax, which helps fund the event. »
Anyway Warren Scheckter is negotiating from a position of strength as he is aware of the importance of F1 having a career in Africa.
“As a global sport, it is very important to have a race on every continent and Africa is the last continent where Formula 1 is not present. »
“It simply came to our notice then [Liberty Media], is also important for the development of sport. Africa is a very important market for Formula 1, with a population of over 1.3 billion. This will provide an opportunity for many more people to participate in the sport, across all demographic groups, not only from the perspective of the fans, but also from the perspective of the participants. »
So when will a possible return of F1 to Kyalami be possible? Warren Scheckter postpones but is optimistic.
“The conversations were all very, very good. There is still a lot of work to be done to make this a reality.”
“There are so many actors involved in an event of this magnitude that there are many agreements that need to be made to reach the proverbial final agreement. »
“I can’t give an exact date for the implementation of the final elements, but it must be in the coming months. Time is running out. »
The strong support for the return of the Grand Prix is finally Lewis Hamilton, and Warren Scheckter thanks the Mercedes driver for his support.
“He has so much power and is able to influence the perception of sport. He emphasized how eager he was for a South African Grand Prix. »
“Lewis looks to the future, and even as he runs his F1, it would be great to support the event and all the development programs and initiatives we will have in and around the event.”
“We want to create more opportunities for young people to get involved in sport, from education, engineering and access to people so that they can try it out. Also get involved as drivers.”