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Ecclestone chasing South African return

13 July 2010

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he is keen to see South Africa return to the F1 calendar for the first time since 1993.

South Africa made its debut on the F1 World Championship schedule in 1962 at the Prince George Circuit in East London before moving to Kyalami in 1967.

Having held no race on the African continent since the final race at Kyalami well over a decade ago, Ecclestone said he felt the time was right to make a return with talks ongoing regarding South Africa GP.

In an interview with the BBC's Sportsweek show, Ecclestone also reaffirmed his desire to take F1 to Russia, although he admitted that he had expected to already be hosting a race on Russian soil.

"The only question mark is Russia, where we should be and we are not," said Ecclestone. “Otherwise we have covered the world pretty well.

"We have been talking to the people [in South Africa] for some time. It is another continent where we should be. It would be nice to have covered the world, but Russia is more important right now. Africa is limited for all the people who are involved in F1 for business, whereas Russia is wide open.

"But we will see. We have been talking to the people in South Africa for quite a long time off and on. The chances are OK. It's a case of getting the right venue always.”

Ecclestone added that he hoped to see F1 racing on a new circuit near Cape Town, with the success of the football World Cup leaving confident that F1 would be welcomed with open arms.

"We've been talking to the people in Cape Town,” he said. “There are one or two places that could happen and are coming on quite strong.

"We're talking about building a circuit, not a street race. It's probably about three years away. That's what I would like to see. I would hope so. I've been hoping that for five years.

"Hopefully what the World Cup has done for Africa, people will think it will be good for F1 to be there."


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