Motorsports is a sport with a global following but with little or no presence in Africa. Every year, Formula One Grand Prix events are held across race tracks in the Middle East to Australia, Europe, and many other parts of the world with the exception of Africa.
Motorsports has millions of fans scattered across Africa’s 54 countries. Still, one would find it tough to count 54 race tracks in the world’s second-largest continent. Without these race tracks, African destinations cannot attract Formula One fans from across the globe to their countries because they are not F1 travel destinations.
Many young motorsports fans in Africa do not know that there used to be the South African Grand Prix. The South African Grand Prix event was last held in 1992-1993. Still, it was previously hosted in South Africa in the 60s and throughout the 80s. Morocco also hosted a Formula One event in 1958.
Today, there is almost zero presence of Formula One and Motorsports on the African continent. Still, Africa has some of the largest numbers of lovers of Formula One, as shown by Formula One TV statistics.
Why has Formula One deserted Africa despite the previous successes that Formula One experienced in Africa?
Africa has some of the finest terrains that would be home to some of the world’s best motorsports race tracks. Still, Africa’s economic challenges have been the biggest impediment to having a strong Formula One presence on the continent. Africa also features prominently in F1’s history.
Formula One events are expensive to pull off. For a largely developing continent with high poverty rates, hosting a Formula One event may be a white elephant project that will not serve any purpose. Africa’s challenges are numerous, and they are not unique to Africa. Still, the resources available are being underutilized in tackling these challenges.
Despite the unpalatable situation, Formula One plans to appear again on the African continent with South Africa as its most likely touch-down spot before spreading to other parts of the continent.
Other strong African economies such as Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and Ghana, may also host Formula One events in Africa in the nearest future, especially because they are also great touristic destinations.
Formula One is serious about its intentions to return to the African continent. Still, their seriousness must also be met by the readiness of African governments and investors.
The world’s biggest motorsports stars will be ready to shine on the African continent when it’s time. Their coming to Africa may spark local interest in motorsports, which will see Africa groom its own stars behind the wheel.