Coulthard: Kyalami ready for F1 return

David Coulthard (File)
David Coulthard (File)

Monaco - South Africa is ready to host Formula One racing again, and Kyalami should be the venue. 

That is the view of racing legend David Coulthard, who was speaking to media at the 18th Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco on Monday.

South Africa, and Kyalami, last hosted a Grand Prix all the way back in 1993.

Coulthard, who was at the track last year for an exhibition event, is adamant that it has the characteristics to host a race on the Formula One calendar. 

“That track is ready to go," Coulthard, a Laureus ambassador, said on the eve of the awards ceremony.

"The investment that has been made … the drivers would love the challenge because it’s retained a lot of the old character of the race track. 

"It’s a formality, I would say, of it being made capable of hosting Formula One.

“To have a true world championships, you’ve got to be in the continents. 

"If we look at the popularity and success that South Africa has had in Formula One in the past … there have been many great Grand Prix's there." 

Coulthard, now 45, is fully aware of the fact that Formula One weekends are massive events that, ultimately, need to make money for the host region. But, he adds, that is not necessarily the case at the moment.

"It was a question of cost and ability to host the event and actually make it at least a break-even business," he says of South Africa losing Formula One.

"Formula One has lost a little bit of its ability to deliver that to places like South Africa.”

But, under new ownership, the industry could be prepared to try one or two shake-ups.

“Liberty Media (new owners) are meeting with everybody to try to really understand what the opportunities are," said Coulthard.

"Clearly they need to get a return of investment, so that means bringing money in. But if you’ve got somewhere like Silverstone (England) with 120 000 people struggling to break even, then there’s something not quite right in the way the distribution of funds are happening.

"Let’s wait and see as the new contracts come up for renewal, whether there really is an appetite to go there (South Africa). From my point of view, why would we not? There is a fan base, cars are celebrated there."

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