F1 Cape Town Grand Prix
No, you’re not seeing things. A Monaco street circuit style Formula 1 Grand Prix is being seriously proposed for Cape Town. And not a poxy little A1 race like we had in the streets of Durban a while back either. A fully fledged, real deal FIA-sanction Formula 1 World Championship F1 Grand Prix of South Africa. In the streets of Cape Town.
The Cape Town Grand Prix Bid Company is reported to be one of three different organisations that are bidding for Cape Town to host a Grand Prix. They hope to present their proposal to Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in London before the start of the 2011 Formula One season in Bahrain.
The proposed 5,3-kilometre circuit starts and ends in Cape Town Stadium and winds its way along the major roads in Sea Point, Green Point and Mouille Point and, according to the Argus, the pitlane would be situated along Beach Road in Green Point.
Although the government of the Western Cape has not yet officially endorsed the bid, the submission to Ecclestone was compiled with inputs from the City of Cape Town, Motorsport SA, Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro.
The company had chosen to suggest a street race instead of building a new circuit because preliminary feasibility studies, pending a full-scale economic impact assessment, showed it to be far cheaper than the R4 billion required to build a new track. Estimates showed that upgrading existing infrastructure to FIA standards to host a grand prix such as Monaco would cost about R100 million.
As CARmag.co.za suggest there are a few stumbling blocks to hosting of a local grand prix, and getting Ecclestone’s approval is a minor one… A street race will still require a major investment after the initial outlay because event organisers would have to put up stands, remove kerbs, erect barriers and provide support infrastructure such as a pitlane, recovery vehicles and trained staff for as long as the race is on the F1 calendar.
The preferred date to stage the race is September 2013 because Cape Town tourism says that’s a quiet time for the city, but local organisers may have no alternative but to fall in along with established races on the Formula One calendar.
Grand Prix weekends traditionally begin on a Thursday and Friday free practice, qualifying happens on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s race. Would Cape Town residents and business owners be willing to live with the inconvenience of having limited access to their homes and businesses for roughly a week every year? The bidding company said the economic impact of a Grand Prix would be “enormous”!
What do you think? Wasn’t there another similar suggestion of a Grand Prix circuit being proposed in the Durban area recently? And also talk of a brand new F1-spec circuit being put together up in the Midrand area between Pretoria and Joburg was doing the rounds about 18-odd months ago.
Are we looking at another case of much noise from the tail-pipes, but little in the way of performance, I wonder?