Domenicali: F1 keen on African race expansion

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Photo: Motorsport South Africa

It’s been 30 years since Formula One last raced on the mainland of Africa – a statistic that looks set to change soon as the sport aims to expand to its sixth and final continent.

Speaking about a variety of topics, F1 President Stefano Domenicali cited that there will be an ‘opportunity’ for circuits that are doing a good job of pushing their hand forward, to add to the 23-race calendar that the sport currently boasts.

But while F1 has targets to reach as much of the globe as it can, the demand to host a race from so many parties comes with its drawbacks, as Domenicali said;

“I don’t want to say it’s not easy, but it’s more complicated because it’s a new dimension, to find the right partner in order to give stability for the medium term is vital.

“We are building on eventually this possibility and if you have the right elements that are given to us, the knowledge that everything is the right thing to do, we’re going to do it. It’s no secret we are still seeing if there’s a chance to go to Africa [because] it’s the only continent missing.”

The expanding calendar has been met with mixed reviews, while many have voiced their concerns over the protection of the sport’s historic venues.

Domenicali made his thoughts clear about the situation for older circuits, stating: “When historic [circuits] are only looking behind there’s something that’s no good, when the historic [circuits have] a good foundation to look ahead with a different future that’s beautiful.

“To be arrogant and believe that you have a granted future because you had a race since 100 years, to be very honest is not enough.

“I think in this moment everyone is understanding that, and we are not playing any games, we are very transparent with them, we are saying if they want to be in the calendar they need to be doing the things we believe is right for them and also for us as F1.”

Fears that too many races in one country could prove to be a mistake, as he said that: “Every race – not only in America – has a different personality, different quality, different segmentation of fans.

“I don’t see any cannibalisation; everyone is different, everything is different, the events are different, I don’t see any problem there.”