Liberty Media Interested Into Bringing Formula 1 Back To Africa

by Aaron Gillard
South Africa - Williams - 1993

Formula 1 owners Liberty Media are looking to add more races onto the calendar, with a potential of looking to host a race within Africa as a alternative solution.

The sport is eager to expand its calendar and enter in new locations to hosts Grands Prix, with the introduction of Vietnam for the 2020 season. Miami are aiming to host a race in the same year, but the status of their deal regarding a race has been silent.

The Netherlands are looking to bring a race back into F1, but are limited on options over where the race will take place. A street race and Assen has been ruled out, leaving Zandoort the only possible solution.

Despite new races coming into the sport, some races currently on the calendar could lose out as their contracts are set to expire. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone enters their final year of its contract, and talks of a new deal have stalled. The Mexican Grand Prix recently loss its Government funding and missed the deadline to host a race in 2020.

Liberty Media’s Chief Executive Greg Maffei spoke at the Deutsche Bank Media Internet & Telecom Conference in Miami, Florida and said that whilst they’re trying to overcome obstacles for a potential race in Miami, they are looking at alternative locations such as Las Vegas and Africa.

“We remain working on Miami, but there are obstacles to a lot of that,” said Maffei

“We’ve looked at other alternatives in the US, including Las Vegas. 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, but there’s a careful mix or blend of where you want to grow and where you want to solidify.”

F1 hasn’t been to Africa since 1993 when Kyalami hosted the last South Africa Grand Prix in the sport. Alain Prost won the Grand Prix in his first race back after missing the 1992 season.

Kyalami has been linked to a potential return to the F1 calendar in the past, but a deal hasn’t been struck. Race series such as A1 Grand Prix attended South Africa in Durban and have hosted a street race around the city.

Liberty Media recently slammed Bernie Ecclestone on the amount of payments race promoters have to pay on their contracts that they agreed on prior to Libery’s purchase of the sport in 2016.

Maffei commented saying that Ecclestone drained the promoters in their deals and has created some challenges for them to keep to their contract to host a Grand Prix.

“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,So that creates some challenges.”

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