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Formula One in talks over race in Marrakesh

UK Sport | Published:

F1 bosses are keen to add a race in Africa to the schedule.

Formula One could be heading to Morocco after it was revealed that discussions have been staged to hold a race in Marrakesh.

Just days after announcing the Dutch Grand Prix will return to the calendar next year, the sport has expressed its desire for a race in Africa.

While Kyalami, a track in South Africa which last staged a grand prix in 1993 is in pole position to land the continent’s first grand prix in over a quarter-of-a-century, F1’s commercial chief, Sean Bratches revealed that F1 has also been in talks with Morocco.

“We race on five continents and the last habitable continent that we don’t race in is Africa,” said Bratches.

“We have proactively been approached by Morocco and Marrakesh to take a grand prix there. There is a high degree of interest.

“Formula One raced in South Africa before – there is a historic track in Kyalami – but I have been told that due to political considerations historically, that ceased.

“We are looking in the short term to have a race there. It is really important to us to have a race in Africa.”

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Stirling Moss won the last Formula One race in Morocco
Stirling Moss won the last Formula One race in Morocco (Nick Ansell/PA)

Formula E, the electric series, has raced in Marrakesh for the past three years, but the 1.8-mile circuit is shorter than all of the current F1 venues.

The addition of Zandvoort in Holland, and a street race in Hanoi, Vietnam means there will be two new rounds on the schedule next year.

The future of the British grand prix remains in doubt
The future of the British grand prix remains in doubt (David Davies/PA)

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“We are optimistic about the prospect of a 21-race calendar again next year,” he added. “I don’t think we are going to have more than that.”

Silverstone chiefs meanwhile, are keen to wrap up an extension to their contract before this year’s race on July 14. Asked if that is realistic, Bratches, speaking at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London, said: “We will see. We are having productive discussions with multiple parties.

“Silverstone has been a central and seminal part of the race calendar since 1950. Those discussions are ongoing.”

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