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F1 looking at a race in Africa

NEWS STORY
13/03/2019

Normally, when one hears the words F1 and Africa in the same sentence, one thinks of South Africa, which has hosted a round of the Formula One World Championship on 23 occasions, and on five occasions when it did not form part of the official series.

While three of those races that counted towards the world championship were held in the coastal city of East London, the remainder were held at Kyalami, which last hosted the South African Grand Prix in 1993.

While a return to South Africa has been mooted for some time, this is F1 under Liberty Media's ownership that we are talking about, and when Liberty's chief executive Greg Maffei merely says "Africa" anything is possible.

Asked about progress on the planned event in Miami, Maffei, speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, replied: "We remain working on Miami, but there are obstacles to a lot of that.

"We've looked at other alternatives in the US, including Las Vegas," he continued. "We've looked at other alternatives in Africa. We're trying to solidify some of the western European races and bring those in. That core fan-base is strong, and there are some in the works that may very well come to pass in those traditional western European places.

"You're always trying to balance both solidifying where you are strong, or core, which is historically western Europe, and then adding other things, like expansion to Vietnam, potentially a second race in China, potentially a race in Africa.

"We're not yet prepared to announce any," he admitted, "but there's a careful mix or blend of where you want to grow and where you want to solidify."

Referring to Vietnam, which joins the calendar next year, he said: "It will be more exciting and a positive improvement over Malaysia, which was not differentiated enough from Singapore." An odd comment considering that Malaysia joined the calendar in 1999 and Singapore in 2008.

Finally, in terms of those five races in the final year of their contracts, and those promoters unhappy with the manner in which Liberty is running things, Maffei is in no doubt where the blame lies... Bernie Ecclestone.

"Bernie had done a very good job, arguably too good a job, and had drained the promoters," he said. "And we got a lot of blow back, partly because we're public now and they can see the prices, and also partly because Bernie suggested to a lot of them that they were overpaying. That didn't help the cause.

"Exacerbating that are governments trying to pull back subsidies, in Mexico, and other places," he added, referring to the decision to cease funding the Grand Prix and divert the money to the construction of a railway. "So that creates some challenges."

Check out our Build Up gallery from Melbourne, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Ro, 13/03/2019 17:01

"Its time ML chucked it all in and sold it on. They couldnt organise a piss-up in a brewery. What a mess!"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Vinodh Moodley, 13/03/2019 14:18

"Hey Abies? Why don’t you keep your “shithole” comments to yourself? While you’re at you can keep your super expensive F1 race as well. That’s something we South Africans don’t want to be exposed to. It’s cheap to be robbed here than to attend an F1 race. "

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3. Posted by Rock Doc, 13/03/2019 14:18

"@ GarH I guess that would be LM. "

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4. Posted by nonickname, 13/03/2019 13:59

"Hi Abies, sorry man I live in South Africa. Ever been past your front door?
Sure it can be dangerous, so can the British parliament.
If I remember correctly the Mexico races had some real problems"

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5. Posted by GarH, 13/03/2019 12:49

"Who in their right mind would buy anything off Bernie without looking under the hood?"

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6. Posted by estoril85, 13/03/2019 11:21

"Classic Bernie! F1 needs a benevolent dictator, all this ruling by committee nonsense simply does not work. 16 races is enough anyway, brings back a bit of exclusivity! Oh and Liberty need to stop messing around with Miami and get Zandvoort sorted asap, plenty of Dutch fans ready to buy tickets for that one! Its not exactly rocket science!"

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7. Posted by F1nerd, 13/03/2019 9:12

"The best way out of an argument for LM is to pass the buck to Bernie. At least the teams and promoters seemed happier and more settled when he was in control."

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8. Posted by Abies, 13/03/2019 9:01

"South Africa is a Shithole... The violence and crime there are terrible... Simply can't expose tourists to this Madness...."

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9. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 13/03/2019 8:51

"What will happen if those 5 races out of contract this year are not on next years calender? how will that look for Liberty, a 16 race season?"

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10. Posted by jagger, 13/03/2019 8:31

"not to mention excuses, finger pointing, incompetent, that's all"

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11. Posted by jagger, 13/03/2019 8:28

"out of his mind and of course they mean South Africa, just more madness. "

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