Formula One on the Streets of Cape Town? | Inspire
Formula One on the Streets of Cape Town?
Good to Know
Good to Know

Formula One on the Streets of Cape Town?

As you gear up to watch the 2017 F1 Australian Grand Prix, imagine if Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were heading to the Mother City.

Imagine perching on your balcony, quaffing cocktails to the sound of seagulls wheeling over crashing waves – and the unmistakable roar of racing cars. 

Restaurants and bars are buzzing, and across the road in the bay a billion-rand fleet of luxury yachts are thumping with ceaseless partying. Helicopters zoom overhead, shuttling in celebrities. 

Monaco? Singapore? Baku? 

Try Cape Town. 

The possibility of a Mother City street circuit has been touted numerous times – and was even allegedly rubber-stamped by former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. But we've yet to hear the whine of Formula One engines on the streets of Cape Town this century.

Cape Town's last F1 race was held as far back as 1962 at the Killarney race track. It was a non-championship event driven in 1500cc cars, and won by Briton Trevor Taylor in a Lotus 21.

Now there's a company that wants to set things right, and has set the ball rolling with stakeholder talks to get the show into Cape Town. 

Cape Town Grand Prix South Africa was founded in 2007, and they've gone as far as mapping a track layout that – as one would expect – showcases all of Cape Town's most Insta-worthy spots. From Table Mountain to the Waterfront, the Cape Town Stadium and the foothills of Signal Hill, it would easily be the most scenic race on the F1 calendar.

"We see Cape Town as the African Riviera," says CEO Igshaan Amlay. "It's one of the top destinations in the world, so it would be fitting to host the Grand Prix here." Even Anthony Hamilton –Lewis's dad – has thrown his weight behind the project.

So what's the problem then? Predictably, it's about money. And it's complicated. Hosting an F1 event costs $30 million (R395m). Race promoters don't earn any income from trackside advertising, and the revenue generated from the 50 000 attendees won't even be a drop in the champagne ice bucket. 

Logistics would further double the cost. The road surfaces need to be repurposed, timing and data systems installed, safety vehicles obtained (from cranes to recovery), temporary structures – from grandstands to a paddock and pit complex, media and medical centres – plus staff and marshals, all need to be accounted for. And that's without the global marketing costs of the event. 

It's an endeavour that no single company can undertake without the help of local and national government. Lack of resources seem like the most insurmountable stumbling block, but political priorities also come into play.
But imagine the possibilities. An exploding hospitality industry and a new tourism category unlocked, putting Cape Town on the map – where it needs to be.

Here's hoping

• Discover more about Valtteri Bottas here.
• Learn more about Mercedes-AMG high-performance racing cars here.

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