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OCTOBER 14, 2004

A Grand Prix in South Africa

Formula 1 has long wanted to go back to Africa and the obvious choice for a race remains South Africa where racing interest and tradition remain high. In recent months a South African consortium has been trying to raise money for the construction of a Formula 1 standard race track near to Cape Town's international airport. This is being led by David Gant.

Gant is a South African businessman with a colourful career which has included being chairman of the fruit company which exported Cape and Outspan products around the world; chairman of the Democratic Party of South Africa, the political party which is now the official opposition; and as a property developer and sports promoter of events such as The World Cup of Golf at the Erinvale Golf Club in Cape Town in 1996. His most recent work has been in sailing.

The Democratic Party has traditionally been strong in the Western Cape Province but is dwarfed by the African National Congress Party at a national level and so it will be interesting to see if Gant can sell the idea of a Grand Prix in South Africa to his political opponents.

One possible bone of contention is the fact that the government may be asked to waive its ban on tobacco advertising, although this should not be a problem as there is supposed to be no cigarette sponsorships after the end of 2006.