Zanzibar chases Formula 1 round

ZANZIBAR has intensified a bid to become the continent’s sole host of the Formula 1 round as process to acquire the right is going on well.

Formula 1 (F1) is the hyper class international racing event for open-wheel single-seater racing cars sanctioned by the International Federation  of the Automobile (FIA).

Abdalla Salim Turky, one of the key planners, said his colleagues from Italy are expected in the country soon for a planning mission for the FIA Formula One World Championship, which has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950.

“The Zanzibar Government backs the plan through its Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA). We hope the race will take place,” Turky said as Sharif Ali Sharif- Director General of ZIPA, said, “If this multi-million USD dollar game becomes a reality, it will create many opportunities and boost our economy.”

Abdulla Salim Turky said, in collaboration with colleagues – private entrepreneurs including Cristian Bortolato, and Enrico Sartini, the Project creators and first backers, they have been working on the plan for almost the past five years, “Including feasibility studies of the project, fund raising, investor searches and close contacts with the Zanzibar government, the project is about to become a reality.”

He said that last September, the first and most crucial confirmation arrived: the decision by the ZIPA to proceed with the project, the consent and support of the government, and that among the supporters is also the well-known former Italian F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella.

It is said that the race track will have a layout that can be modulated, according to the racing category, up to a maximum length of 7 km, thus becoming one of the longest and most challenging tracks in the world.

The development of all motorsports of the minor categories for East Africa, which is still a little-known world at the moment, will be envisaged. In the initial ideas, the compound could include more hotels, an expo area, and a natural park, given the natural conformation of the island.

“We are delighted and honoured to have the blessing of the government to introduce motorsport in Zanzibar. It will be the turning point not because of the race itself, but because it will bring Africa and Zanzibar on the world stage of tourism and services,” said Toufiq Salim Turky, Member of Parliament for Mpendae constituency.

Meanwhile, the Formula 1 has reportedly discarded hopes of the South African Grand Prix being added to the 2024 calendar, with Spa likely to be the beneficiary of another one-year reprieve.

F1 has been keen to add a grand prix in Africa – the only continent the sport currently does not race in – and the Kyalami circuit outside Johannesburg had been earmarked as the venue for a return to South Africa for the first time since 1993.

However, after original talks to be on the 2023 calendar collapsed and while F1 have not officially given and update, there are now political reasons why South Africa will reportedly miss out on a slot next year.

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