NEWS

‘To Russia with love’ me thinks not, as SA loses bid to host F1 due to politics

SOUTH AFRICA has lost bid to host the 2023/24 Formula 1.

Politics are behind the decision and SA’s relationship with Russia, chiefly.

F1 organisers and SA consortium have been in talks for years’ to bring the likes Sir Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Carlo Alonso to our shores, but it seems its now smoke in the air.

“According to very well-placed sources, the original plan was for South Africa to join the grand prix calendar in 2023. For various reasons that didn’t happen.

“The plan was then to have South Africa join in 2024 and now it seems as if the plans have fallen through, and the earliest possible date is 2025.”

The source was quoted having said Formula 1 has already cancelled the Russian Grand Prix after the invasion of Ukraine and banned all Russian athletes from taking part in Formula 1 racing under the Russian flag.

“I think the reasons given at the moment of South Africa’s closeness to Russia maybe played a role and that will depend on whether that situation continues into 2025 because of American contention that South Africa is getting closer to Russia, which is problematic for Formula 1.”

Other pertinent issue is financing of the event.

Most States (Gvt) pay for the rights to hold the race in a specific country; and with SA experiencing liquidity issues and the scrapping of the South African Tourism deal with EPL side Tottenham Hotspur FC, recently, it could prove a major headache for Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration.

Thus a private sector would have to step in, albeit none has so far made that commitment.

“The main way in which the event can take place is if a South African promoter can finance a medium-to-long term contract for a minimum of five years, and possibly to a maximum of 10 years and for that, you need financial guarantee and in many cases in the world, many states actually provide those financial guarantees.”

“We are talking about the amounts of at least R400 million per year just for the rights to hold the race, not including any costs of organising the race. If you multiply that by the amount of years times five, we are talking about billions of rands,” a source further commented.

The last time F1 was hosted in SA was 30 years’ ago.

Image supplied (Sir Lewis Hamilton won’t be making his way to our shores anytime soon due to politics).

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