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F1

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F1 discussion

Is a race in Africa really possible?

This topic contains 23 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of DavidS DavidS 2 years ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)
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  • #131708
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    This stems on from discussions last night about Singapore’s supposed new deal.

    In the last few years, Bernie has moved to conquer Asia and the Middle East, and has now turned his attentions to the Americas to expand Formula 1′s presence there. And with India having joined the championship in 2011, Formula 1 now has a presence in every major geopolitical area and on every single continent except for one – Africa. And Antarctica, or course, but this is a serious discussion.

    We used to have the South African Grand Prix, but it stopped before the current era of the sport and the expensive race sanctioning fees came into play. When Formula 1 went to India, it was accused of being exploitative given the poverty there; any race in Africa is likely to receive ten times as much criticism. But in this day and age of governments backing races, a Grand Prix has become something of a status symbol, showing off the country as being developed. Everywhere from Bulgaria to Vietnam has talked up the idea in the past two years or so, so governments are clearly interested in the idea. And what’s more, Bernie has said that he would like to see a race in Africa some day, probably in or near Cape Town.

    Could a race in Africa ever work? And if so, where would it be?

    #205412
    Avatar of the_sigman
    the_sigman
    Participant

    Yes, absolutely, especially in South Africa. In the past we had the race in Kyalami, and the World cup was hosted there with success.

    #205413
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    The World Cup did take some criticism, given the social issues in the country. And Formula 1 is very, very expensive, so I don’t think it’s something that could easily be overlooked.

    I think Egypt is a country that might be able to hold a race, once stability returns to the country following the uprising and elections.

    #205414
    Avatar of andae23
    andae23
    Participant

    It would be great to have a ‘real’ World Championship with all the continents represented on the calender. South Africa would be the usual suspect, but how about Morocco? The WTCC has been racing there for a couple of years now at the Marakech street circuit. So not necessarily at that particular circuit, but maybe a nice little track elsewhere in Morocco?

    But on the other hand: if we do go racing in Africa, how can we prevent that from becoming another Turkey or China? I think the major flaw in these projects is that they become to big: Turkey, China, India, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi all set up these enormous complexes that look spectacularly good, but it lacks something special. Though they did manage to do that in for instance Hungary: the country doesn’t really have race history, but they built a nice little track there that the audience could really enjoy, and it works. If F1 does go to Africa, they should really pay some attention to these aspects.

    #205415
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    I suppose Morocco is a possibility, but certainly not in Marrakech. That circuit is horrible.

    The real barrier to entry for a race in Africa is cost. I know that’s a barrier everywhere, but the effect is twofold in Africa as it is the world’s poorest continent. 95% of the countries in Africa wouldn’t be able to afford a race. Going by this chart (which is rather out of date, I’ll admit), the richest countries are Libya, Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Tunisia. And even then, those countries aren’t particularly rich. Everywhere else is highly impoversihed.

    Perhaps the most feasible way forward would be to have several countries fund a race together, and run it under the title of “Grand Prix of Southern Africa” or some such.

    #205416
    Avatar of sam3110
    sam3110
    Participant

    Yes, two races, one in Morocco, one in South Africa to cover as much of the continent as possible. Plus, these two, though these two countries are not rich, they are more plausible than places like Libya, the Congo and Ethiopia!

    The only other place

    #205417
    Avatar of sam3110
    sam3110
    Participant

    Yes, two races, one in Morocco, one in South Africa to cover as much of the continent as possible. Plus, these two, though these two countries are not rich, they are more plausible than places like Libya, the Congo and Ethiopia!

    The only other place I can think of is Nigeria, there must a couple of incredibly wealthy internet scam guys with land to build a circuit?

    (This is a joke about the spam emails you get, please don’t anyone take offence!)

    #205418
    Avatar of necrodethmortem
    necrodethmortem
    Participant

    There are 5 African countries with a significant population (say >20 million) and a >= medium HDI. Those are: Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco and Ghana.

    Of those 5, South Africa and Ghana are the least failed states, according to the index (before and after the Arabian spring). They actually score better than India and China, which both had a GP without too much controversy, so I don’t see how it can’t be done.

    On top of that, South Africa has F1 pedigree. Unfortunately, the short and fast Kyalami (which would have been unique) is no more, because it had to make way for housing. The new Kyalami is still pretty interesting to drive on, but not really suitable for overtaking and in a very poor state, with no room for improvements.

    Now, the South Africans could build a new track, it only costs as much as two World Cup stadiums, OR — and this option bears my preference — they could build new facilities around the Prince George Circuit in East London. The place has F1 history and a mighty impressive backdrop with the Indian Ocean. It’s short (3.9 km) and very fast, which would make it stand out immensely. The only problem is that I doubt the FIA would be happy with 40 second or less lap times.

    Either way, I think South Africa should definitely get a Grand Prix in the near future. My only concern is that it will be either yet another sterile Tilkedome or yet another street circuit. Egypt could be suitable as well, but the country will need several years to stabilize and another couple of years to make plans and then another couple of years to put those plans into action.

    #205419
    Avatar of necrodethmortem
    necrodethmortem
    Participant

    @sam3110 The Congo? You mean the worst country on earth until the creation of South Sudan or the not too terrible one with about 5000 people with enough cash to buy a ticket?

    #205420
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    I think Egypt is a better candidate than Morocco. Egypt has an actual tourism industry, so I don’t think it would have much of a problem attracting visitors from Europe in particular. The country just needs to stabilise itself first, but Mohammed Morsi has managed to establish himself as President, so that’s a good sign. He might have close connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, who are very conservative, but hosting a race might show Egypt’s willingness to keep working with the west and bring more stability to the region (since Morsi’s election hasn’t gone over too well in Israel). It’s a question of finding a venue. Maybe a street circuit, to keep costs down – a proper street circuit, like Monaco or Singapore, mind you. Somewhere in Alexandria, maybe.

    #205421
    Avatar of necrodethmortem
    necrodethmortem
    Participant

    Morocco has an annual tourism revenue of over 7 billion USD, you can call that an industry as well…

    In Egypt, I expect either Gizeh or some Red Sea resort to be the most likely candidate. Or indeed Alexandria, or maybe even Port Said or Suez.

    #205422
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    Gizeh isn’t really an option. There’s no space; the city of Cairo is hard up against it. As for the Red Sea resorts, they’re too isolated. Alexandria makes the most sense.

    #205423
    Avatar of necrodethmortem
    necrodethmortem
    Participant

    There’s room just outside of Gizeh. How cool would a track around the pyramids be?

    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5322271

    #205424
    Avatar of necrodethmortem
    necrodethmortem
    Participant

    Morocco famously has some great roads. Here’s an example in Fes: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5556323

    #205425
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    It’s a little bit too long, feels a little tacky, and is adjacent to residential areas. It wouldn’t be a popular move.

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