First on EWN: F1 boss says 'no' to Cape Town Grand Prix

The head of Formula One has told EWN Sport SA's hopes of hosting a race in the near future are non-existent.

The start of the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. Picture: Mercedes AMG Petronas/Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - The head of Formula One Bernie Ecclestone, has told EWN Sport that South Africa's hopes of hosting a race in the near future are non-existent unless somebody 'who's in a position to make a commitment' presents the sport's bosses with a concrete plan to bring it to the country.

In an exclusive interview from London, the 84-year-old though once again reiterated his desire for a race to return to South Africa, which last featured on the calendar in 1993.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, in an exclusive interview with EWN Sport, tells Jean Smyth exactly what the status is, from his point of view, of a Formula One race coming to Cape Town in the near future.

With the time zone and climate so well-suited to the sport that attracts a global audience, Ecclestone remains desperate for a stop on the continent to become a fixture again.

"If somebody sits in front of me today, with a pen, and wants to sign a contract there can be a race next year."

It's understood that the Cape Town Grand Prix South Africa consortium are the frontrunners following initial discussions, with a street race in the heart of the city, but according to Ecclestone he hasn't been presented with a firm proposal that seems to have the requisite financial and administrative backing from both local and national governments, as well as, crucially, the private sector.

"I think it's really a case of someone getting behind this and saying, 'we're going to make it happen' because unless somebody does that it will just bumble on like it is with a lot of interest, and when it really comes down to it nobody is really making the effort to do anything."

In June this year, the group via it's CEO Igshaan Amlay, said they'd be engaging City of Cape Town officials 'within weeks' to present their plans after meeting with Ecclestone, who's unwilling to rate the city's chances of hosting the event for what would be a five year contract.

"(It's) Impossible to say because I think there's a big percentage of having another meeting and another conversation which will produce nothing. There's been various suggestions over where the race should be: the one that I thought was sensible for Cape Town and everything was a street race in Cape Town which looked as if it was all going to go ahead, and then didn't go ahead.

"Someone needs to be, and speak about this, who's in a position to make a commitment and there hasn't been anybody."

Ecclestone also says that he has no meetings planned as yet with either the bidders or government officials about a proposal.

He also moved to dispel any notion of nerves of doing business with South Africa in light of the scandal currently surrounding Fifa and the country's disputed contribution to a fund in the Caribbean in the light of the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

"We won't be bribed and we won't bribe anyone, so I don't care. I'm not the slightest bit interested in what other people do and I'm quite sure that what happened with the football as happened in South Africa like many, many parts of the world in all sorts of other businesses and politics."