Formula in Cape Town?
Let’s take a trip back in time and revisit the days when Formula 1 had fewer rules and the brutally beautiful machines that shook your core as the screamed down the pit straight to cheering crowds who dreamt of nothing less than to one day, be in an F1 seat. Back in 1992 we had the likes of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and a young Michael Schumacher carving their way apexes and the history books while broadcasting their unchallenged skill and passion to the rest of the world.
Along with these mechanical maestros, South Africa had something special too. It held the 1st road of the F1 season. This was held at the very popular, unique and exciting race track known to many people around the world as Kyalami. Want to know what it’s like to race around Kyamali Race Track back in 1992 with one of the F1 greats?
Although Kyalami hasn’t seen an F1 race since 1993 and it has since been auctioned off and now owned by Porsche South Africa (YAY), the question that still drifts through every motorsport enthusiasts touch screen is, when will F1 return back to South Africa?
Uncle Bernie has thrown the odd hint that F1 will return back to South Africa. The latest news, from IOL Motoring, “Ecclestone revealed he was in the process of proposing terms for the country to figure on the world championship schedule again, hopefully from 2016.”
To add to that, Ecclestone has said, “I’ve been looking to going back to South Africa for a long time and now we have a good chance. “We’re hoping to be back in 2016, but we will have a look and see. We’ll see how we get on.” Hmmm… A little cryptic, but still so positive.
Enough about that, what we all want to know is where would this epic return take place? Surely not Kyalami. It is too short, too slow, too dangerous, not enough run-off and well, not very scenic. So, where too next? Cape Town maybe?
By the look of things, the mountain loving (not the one from Game of Thrones) Mother City could host a street-like F1 race. Beautiful scenery? CHECK! Safety and security? Possible CHECK! Everything that is currently wrong with F1? CHECK CHECK CHECK!
What do we mean by that? Well a new circuits will bring added excitement and a little more exposure to South Africa. YAY! But let’s go back to the 1990’s. Possibly the most exciting, rivalry filled F1 seasons that had less to do with team politics and R&D and more with drivers skill and a true, honest, passion for racing.
Fast forward 25 years and the surrounding feelings around F1 are centred around money, team politics, restrictions and R&D budgets that rival security upgrades at Nkandla, which then take home all of the trophies, girls and more fans on twitter and instagram. Where drivers showcase fancy watches over emotions, talent and rivalry. Not saying that the sport does not need these kinds of sponsors, but let’s focus on the driving and the racing.
So, that brings me to my final point. Should there be an F1 race in Cape Town? Well, let’s face it, the venue, climate, scenery and overall superficial “street-like Monaco” feeling around this entire plan suits F1’s current air of pretentiousness. Will that bring excitement to F1, probably, but will it bring back the legacy that Nikki Lauda, James Hunt, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell, Juan Manuel Fangio and other F1 greats instilled in the roots of F1?
Personally, I don’t think it will.