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FORMULA ONE INTERESTED IN A RETURN TO AFRICA

Peter Situma

While there is no scheduled Formula 1 race to take place in Africa, that does not imply that the idea of hosting one in the continent, with specific interest in South Africa should be overlooked. The country is known for its love of the sport involving open wheels, and the return is something that people ought to take with the uttermost eagerness.

The History of Formula One in South Africa

All through the 19th century, the highest form of single-seater competing was held in the country for over 30 times, with the initial one being in 1962, and the final one in 1993. It is during these times that the southernmost country in Africa hosted some of the greatest drivers of the motor sport, including Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, AyrtonSenna, Damon Hill, among many others. Additionally, over the days when the country hosted the racing events, South Africa depicted to the rest of the world its ability and resourcefulness with regards to the designs of the tracks and the location. Between 1962 and 1966, the venue for the race was at Prince George circuit that was developed in the year 1959. After that, the Kyalami racecourse came in next and hosted most of the events, though it was also the last to host one in 1993.

Despite the fact that the country has not produced many drivers of the race in the recent years, 23 South Africans have managed to get to Formula One, with Jody Schekter being the most impressive of them all. Besides from being the first and the only South African to win a grand prix on home soil in the year 1975, his ten race wins in 1979 aided in the capturing of the world championship for drivers with Ferrari, as he did that at the expense of Gilles Villeneuve.

A Call for its return in S.A.

A few days ago, record breaking Formula One British racer Lewis Hamilton urged the management of the sport to think about Africa when making plans for events as he feels it is one of the most crucial places to hold races. Besides that, he also added that the race should not be all about making money but rather appreciating people of all sorts that would in a way expand the market for the competition that is not common in Africa. Calls for the same to return in South Africa were also reiterated by Sean Bratches, the former Commercial Boss of Formula One who indicated that these events were held in all the inhabited continents apart from Africa. He added that it would form one of the most interesting hosts as there is a lot of potential in the land that was once prime for holding championship races, especially Kyalami in South Africa, and Marrakesh in Morocco.

There was speculation of the sport being held in South Africa this year, but as every other thing, the plans were halted by the onset of covid-19 coronavirus. Hopefully, such plans would still be viable once the pandemic is contained to manageable levels.

Betting on Formula One Races

The fact that Africa has not held any single-seater championship race for the past 27 years implies that most Africans have not had the chance of gambling on the sport, say for the few who have a personal interests in the events that happen in other continents. However, South Africa is the leading country in the continent with regards to the number of punters who gamble on the sport, as there are betting companies that offer such opportunities.

They include:
• Betfair
• Africabet
• Betxchange
• Sportingbet
• Sport Pesa

Sport Pesa is at the forefront as a Formula One stakeholder considering that it is the main sponsor of Team Racing Point. Punters in South Africa where the firm is renowned can still have a chance of placing their bets once the season resumes in July as they await for Africa to be given her maiden chance in more than 25 years to host an event.




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