South African motorsport's governing body would only support a bid to host a grand prix on the provision that part of the proceeds would be channeled into developing the country's racing infrastructure and help promote young and underprivileged home-grown talent.
Following on from the country's successful hosting of the soccer World Cup this summer, the South African Motorsport association indicated that it was incumbent on F1's stakeholders to follow FIFA's example and help build up the grass roots infrastructure of the sport.
Bernie Ecclestone recently pointed to South Africa as one of several countries under consideration to host future rounds of the Formula 1 World Championship, suggesting that Cape Town would make a good potential venue. But George Nyabadza, the chairman of the country's motorsports body Motorsport South Africa, said that while he supported the idea in principle, he needed to see tangible benefits.
"F1 enjoys very little support in countries where there is no representation," he said. "Only when we can wave our rainbow flag will there be public interest and national unity."
Nyabadza said he wanted to see very clear provisions of how much money would be generated for motorsport development, particularly in the female segment and the black youth segments of South Africa: "It would be irresponsible," he said, "to host an F1 race and not have the stakeholders invest a portion of the proceeds in these segments. There would be no legacy for the sport."
Nyabadza added that the government would need to conduct an economic impact study to weigh up the benefits against the "substantial costs" involved.
The MSA's managing director Francois Pretorius said its governing body would only support hosting a grand prix if it provided concrete benefits to the grassroots development of motorsport, which would happen under the auspices of MSA. According to a statement released by the MSA, Pretorius added that "the immediate socio-economic priorities in the country outweighed the possible longterm benefits of hosting the event unless a cogent and sustainable plan of sport development was provided for."
The MSA made it clear that it would seriously consider support for any bidders prepared to factor these provisions into their proposal.
South Africa last hosted a grand prix at Kyalami in 1993, which was won by Alain Prost in a Williams-Renault.