Rumours of SA F1 GP surface again
F1 organisers look to host an African round, but who will pay for it?
Formula One wants to go back to Africa, with the Moroccan city of Marrakesh and SA’s Kyalami circuit keen to host a race, commercial MD Sean Bratches said last Thursday.
"It's a marketplace in which we would like to race," Bratches said at a Sport Industry Breakfast Club event, two days after Formula One announced the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in 2020 after a 35-year absence.
Morocco and SA have hosted world championship grands prix in the past, Casablanca in 1958 and SA in East London in the 1960s and Kyalami 20 times between 1967 and 1993.
"We race on five continents now and the last habitable continent that we don’t race in is Africa," said Bratches.
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GETTING A SLOT COSTS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF RANDS AND NO LOCAL SPONSOR HAS BEEN FOUND WITH POCKETS DEEP ENOUGH.
"We've been having very productive conversations in SA and to a lesser extent in Morocco about bringing a grand prix ... we're on it. It's really important to us."
Kyalami spokesman Christo Kruger said there had been no formal discussions with organisers to host an F1 race at the circuit.
Rumours of SA’s return to the F1 calendar have circulated ever since the last local Grand Prix was held at Kyalami in 1993, with reported plans to host the race in places as diverse as Kyalami, Durban and Cape Town, but none has materialised due to the high cost of staging a race.
Getting a slot on the F1 calendar is reputed to cost hundreds of millions of rands and no local sponsor has been found with pockets deep enough.
F1 heads to Monaco this weekend for the sixth race of the season, with Mercedes having scored a record-breaking one-two result in the opening five races.
World Rallycross returns to Cape Town
The FIA World Rallycross (World RX) Championship will return to SA for the third successive year on November 9 and 10.
Cape Town’s Killarney Raceway will again stage the event, which is presented by Monster Energy. World RX is a championship that has rally cars racing on a combined tar and gravel circuit that includes spectacular jumps. SA is one of only seven countries to be hosting the series.
A total of 16 permanent drivers — six teams and four individual entries — represent the eight automotive brands that are competing for top spot in this year’s championship. The line-up of cars includes Audi S1s, Ford Fiestas and Renault Clios, while the drivers include former DTM champion Timo Scheider.
Tickets for the Cape Town event are priced from R200 (children under 12 are free) and are on sale at www.quicket.co.za.
Tasmin scores points in female series
Tasmin Pepper enjoyed another competitive outing in the second round of the new W Series woman’s racing championship, held at Zolder in Belgium on the weekend.
The only South African driver on the 18-car grid, Pepper finished sixth after a frantic four-car dice, moving her up to seventh in this unique all-woman championship.
Dutch driver Beitske Visser won the race, with Britain's Jamie Chadwick finishing second and retaining the championship lead after beating compatriot Alice Powell.
The six-race series is aimed at helping women up the motorsport ladder. The overall winner will collect $500,000, with prize money down to 18th place.
The next round is at Misano, Italy on June 8.
Marquez steamroller continues
Honda's world champion Marc Marquez won the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on Sunday for his third victory in the past four races to extend his lead at the top of the MotoGP standings.
The 26-year-old, who started in pole position, cruised to victory ahead of works Ducati duo Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci. Marquez now leads the standings on 95 points from Dovisiozo (87) and Suzuki’s Alex Rins (75) who stuggled to 10th place on Sunday.
Marquez's win was the 300th premier class victory for the Honda team and came 53 years after Jim Redman, of then Rhodesia, claimed the first one at Hockenheim.
Marquez equalled team-mate Jorge Lorenzo's premier class win tally of 47, the joint-fourth highest.
Marquez and Jack Miller were involved in an early battle and the Australian surged ahead on the fifth lap, but the champion regained the lead two laps later and pulled away from the chasing pack to secure the victory.
SA’s Brad Binder finished fourth in the Moto2 class.
Alonso fails to qualify for Indy
Double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso failed to qualify for this weekend's Indianapolis 500 race.
Alonso, who led the race in 2017 in an Andretti Autosport entry before an engine failure, crashed his Chevrolet in practice last Wednesday and the Spaniard then missed nearly two full days of practice while a back-up car was prepared.
He tried five times on Saturday to qualify, puncturing a tyre on the first attempt, and failed to get the speed needed in Sunday's shootout.
Alonso wants to complete the so-called Triple Crown, a feat only previously achieved by the late Briton Graham Hill, by adding Indy to his Le Mans 24 Hours and Monaco Grand Prix successes.