Next stop Morocco or South Africa?

Date published: May 17 2019

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Formula 1’s next addition could be either Morocco or South Africa with commercial managing director Sean Bratches saying Africa is “really important” to Liberty Media.

“We race on five continents now and the last habitable continent that we don’t race in is Africa,” Bratches told Reuters.

“We’ve been having very productive conversations in South Africa and to a lesser extent in Morocco about bringing a grand prix… we’re on it.

“It’s really important to us.”

Bratches explained that there is a “high degree of interest” from Morocco as the government sees it as a way to expand tourism.

He added: “The vast majority of our grands prix are underpinned by government and it’s because it works. We shine a bright light on these cities.”

South Africa’s Kyalami is also knocking on the door.

The track last hosted a F1 grand prix back in 1993, which was won by Alain Prost in the Williams-Renault.

He told PA: “It’s a marketplace in which we would like to race. We are a global sport.

“There’s a historic circuit in South Africa, Kyalami.

“Toby Venter, who owns the Porsche dealerships in South Africa has purchased it, fully remediated it, garages, paddock.

“Similarly to other markets around the world, we have been proactively approached by other areas such as Morocco, Marrakech.

“There’s a circuit there as well. I’m a little bit less familiar with the status, I suspect it’s not a Grade 1 circuit [the Moulay El Hassan circuit is Grade 2], but there is a high degree of interest.”

Next year F1 will head to Vietnam for the first time while the Dutch Grand Prix is back at Zandvoort, bringing to an end a 35-year absence.

Bratches, though, says F1 will continue to have a 21-race calendar meaning

“We are optimistic about the prospect of a 21-race calendar again next year,” he said. “I don’t think we are going to have more than that.”

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