South African government baulking on Grand Prix plan

There are reports in the South African newspapers that plans to host a Formula 1 race in Cape Town are not going as smoothly as some would have us believe with the government apparently unwilling to commit itself to such an expensive programme. The Omega Consortium, which is behind the plan, had initial talks with the government about the possibilities of a race but since then the government has not been keen to take the discussions any further.

David Gant of Omega Consortium says the consortium have already got commitment from the private sector for 50% of what they believe they need and reckons that the construction of the track will cost around $65m. There will then have to be annual fees payable to Formula One Management, which could be as much as $40m at the start, rising by 10% per year. It is possible that FOM would be willing to do a deal in order to get a race in Africa but Bernie Ecclestone has not shown himself to be that interested in such schemes in the past, preferring to get the money in the bank.

The Omega Consortium claims that a Grand Prix would attract at least 20,000 additional foreign tourists to Cape Town and generate an injection of $160m into the local economy each year through extra tourism and jobs created.

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