- The reason for the sudden exclusion of South Africa from the 2023 Formula 1 calendar has been announced.
- Anton Rowe, one of the leading figures in domestic motorsport, confirms that attempts will be made to organize an F1 race in 2024.
- Rowe says motorsports in South Africa would benefit greatly if young talent could handle champions such as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Local motorsports fans are still reeling from the news that South Africa will not host a round of the Formula 1 championship in 2023. Early signs have signaled the heyday of motorsports returning to the Kyalami circuit next year, but negotiations have failed, raising any hope. from back.
The FIA, the governing body for international motorsport, and FOM (Formula One Management) have published the 2023 calendar, confirming Season record 24 races and exclusion of SA. Until next year’s schedule was confirmed, many South African Formula One aficionados were still hoping for a miracle.
So what went wrong with the bidding process in South Africa and could something be salvaged for organizing a race in 2024?
For an F1 race to happen, many parties must participate, and guarantees – both financial and non-financial – must be met. Unfortunately for South Africa, holes were made in the bidding sack, with the result that the negotiation process did not bring the desired fruits.
The seven parties involved in the SA bidding process are the FIA, F1, Motorsport SA (MSA), venue provider (Kyalami Circuit), national government (including the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Tourism), local government, and local promoter: SA Grand Prix Association led Warren Schecter.
READ: The South Australian government wasn’t aware of the financial guarantees to make the return of Formula 1 possible
Anton Rowe, FIA Board Chairman and FIA Senator, confirmed to News24 Sport: “The reason why the F1 event did not happen in 2023 is that the designated local promoter of F1 was not able to provide the financial guarantees.
“The whole issue here is not the fault of the FIA, F1, MSA or the government side. It was only because the local promoter couldn’t deliver. And now we need to replace the local promoter. But I am very confident we’ll be on the 2024 calendar.”
News24 Sport has reached out to Scheckter, but he said he was not at liberty to discuss the details surrounding the negotiations.
2022 Italian Grand Prix
Advantages of listing 2024
Although next year is off the cards, Roux is confident she will be included in the 2024 F1 calendar. Talks are already taking place between South Africa (as the host country) and potential promoters, and Rowe says all of the promoters he talks to have experience hosting Formula One races.
Therefore, if all the cards fall into place and all players can get the same page, it is not inconceivable that the SA will be visualized in the 2024 calendar.
While racing on the African continent will truly make F1 a global spectacle, South Africa’s economy will make huge gains. An economic impact study was conducted to measure the impact of F1 on the country, with Rowe emphasizing that the hospitality and tourism sectors are the biggest beneficiaries. Not only Gauteng, but the entire country.
Tourism and hospitality will be enormous.
60% of spectators who attend an F1 race are not from the host country, which means that South Africa, with its rich tourism culture, will benefit from international guests visiting landmarks such as the Kruger National Park and Cape Winelands. And with an average of 70 million viewers watching the F1 race (based on 2021 numbers), South Africa’s global image will undoubtedly bolster.
“The other advantage we have in South Africa is that we’re in the same time zone as Europeans,” Rowe notes. “So, from a TV viewer’s point of view, it goes into where the viewership is the most.”
Feeding the grassroots
Although motorsport is still alive and well in South Africa, F1 has been a huge incentive for many to pursue a career outside of motorsport. The inspiration was men such as Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
1993, the last time a race was held in South Africa, was too far in the past for many South Africans, especially the younger generation. Enjoy watching Formula One races from the comfort of our sofas, there are not many opportunities for young people to interact with the best motorsports athletes in the world.
But contemporary F1 has new champions. Whether they are already into motorsports or dream of entering it one day, young South Africans need the motivation to see their champions in person. 2024 could present that opportunity, with Rowe, as an FIA senator, wanting to tackle it.
“We need to create more sporting champions for our children to follow, and I think that will be very beneficial for motorsport in South Africa,” he concludes. “Men should see Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen so they can relate to her. We need to create ambition.”
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