The African GP: Morocco vs South Africa
There have been rumours about hosting an African GP and making Formula 1 a global sport once again with races in all 6 continents for a couple of years now. With the new addition of Miami to the F1 calendar, I thought – Where would an African Grand Prix be hosted?
There are currently 2 such venues which in my opinion would be great contenders for hosting an F1 event.
Written by Abhishek Banerjee, Edited by Esmée Koppius
Marrakech Street Circuit, Morocco
Morocco has hosted the “Casablanca Grand Prix” 13 times in the years between 1925 and 1958. Recently with the opening of the Marrakech street circuit it has played his to series like the Auto GP (2012-2014), WTCC (2009-2017) then the renamed WTCR (2018-2019) and was an annual venue for the Formula E series (from 2016 – 2020) but was then dropped. In 2010 there was a horrible crash in the F2 series where a car was sent flying over crashing and catching fire. The stands can hold up to 10,000 people.
Morocco’s close proximity to Europe would make it an ideal place to host an F1 weekend, but the tracks are not even FIA graded and would require heavy investment to turn it into a Grade 1 track. So maybe Morocco’s future as an F1 venue is unsure.
Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, South Africa
South Africa has a rich history in Motorsport, being a frequent venue for Formula 1. Prince George Circuit was a good enough venue for the time playing host to other races apart from F1 as well (1934,1936-39,1960-63 and again from 1965-66). Kyalami was the new venue after Prince George Circuit was relegated to non championship status and hosted the South African GP until F1 succumbed to the countries boycotting against holding sporting events in the Apartheid Regime of South Africa (races held: 1967-85 barring ’81).
F1 returned to the 40.6 millions South Africans for a brief period from 1992-93. After being bought by the South African Automobile Association, hosting an F1 event was deemed too expensive and it did not return.
It seems like at the moment Kyalami in South Africa would be better suited and better equipped to host a Grand Prix, but if the race is shared between both the countries then it brings forward a new dynamic and is probably the more logical option. It will keep costs low and gives us, the fans, more venues on top of bringing the best racing event in the world to Africa.
“At the moment Formula 1 goes to countries and doesn’t really leave much behind, if anything. F1 has to shift to being a sport that does go to places and leaves behind something that can really help the communities.”
“It needs to be held where it’s not all about money. It’s about the people. In business, that’s not always the case. That’s something I’m really pushing for”
-Lewis Hamilton, about bringing Formula 1 to different countries