With the Hanoi Grand Prix and yesterday’s announcement that the Dutch Grand Prix would return at Zandvoort, you’d think the calendar is about full. In fact, with rumors that Spain is leaving and possibly Germany, it would see there is little room for new races unless the calendar expands beyond 21 races.
Today, Reuters has a story that F1 is also interested in a return to Africa. It seems F1’s commercial boss, Sean Bratches, is keen to race on the continent.
“We race on five continents now and the last habitable continent that we don’t race in is Africa,” said Bratches.
“We’ve been having very productive conversations in South Africa and to a lesser extent in Morocco about bringing a grand prix… we’re on it. It’s really important to us.”
The series hasn’t raced in Kyalami since 1993 but it had been a staple of the F1 calendar since 1967. The series hasn’t raced in Morocco since the late 50’s in Casablanca. After lambasting the former owners of F1 about their go-to-market strategy, it seems Bratches has realized that maybe they had a good idea with government subsidized races.
“The vast majority of our grands prix are underpinned by government and it’s because it works. We shine a bright light on these cities,” said Bratches.
And what about those additional races in America that Liberty Media were keen to bring to the calendar?
“In an ideal circumstance we would be racing downtown Miami or downtown Las Vegas,” said Bratches. “Those are the two cities in the United States that best align with our brand and our aspirations.
“We are going to try and create the best experience in each market that (circumstances) will permit, not only from a racing standpoint but a fan engagement and economic standpoint… it’s still viable.”
I know Sean feels that having street races in Miami or Vegas are the two locations that he believes makes economic sense but I’m not 100% convinced that another purpose-built circuit race in America wouldn’t be financially beneficial. It may be easier to upgrade an existing track than it is to shut down Miami or Las Vegas for a weekend.
Hat Tip: Reuters