The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network

Will Zanzibar take over Grand prix from South Africa?

Zanzibar is soon set to become the continent’s sole host of Formula 1 arena motor sporting events.

The Isles emerged as an audacious Grand Prix contender for an African event on the Formula 1 motorsport calendar.

With the unanimous agreement on the significance of bringing the thrilling event to the continent, the presumption so far has been that South Africa was the obvious candidate but Zanzibar begs to differ.

If all goes well then Tanzania becomes the second African country after South Africa, to secure the coveted rights to host Formula 1.

According to, an Italian sports platform, the island has been diligently pursuing admission as one of the Formula 1 calendar’s venues, for the past five years – and is now being taken seriously.

The Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority is championing the cause.

Undeterred by the substantial financial commitments required, the authority has persisted in its quest to bring this global sporting extravaganza to Zanzibar shores.

The journey to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix will demand a significant investment of over USD 500 million.

This monumental undertaking includes the construction of a racetrack, which alone is projected to take between four and six years to complete.

For Zanzibar, however, the visionary blueprint also encompasses additional world-class facilities including, luxurious hotels, a water park and natural parks with the costs of the track offset by ensuring the facility offers adjacent world-class tourist attractions and services to pull in a loyal F1 fan base.

Beyond the sheer audacity of the initiative, Salim Turky, a Tanzanian parliamentarian who is also the deputy spokesperson for the project, is quoted as saying that “it will be a game changer, not for the race itself, but because it will bring Africa and Zanzibar onto the world stage of tourism and services”.

Iconic figures such as former Italian Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella and multiple F1 title winners Lewis Hamilton have thrown their weight behind the campaign to bring the race back to the continent.

Hamilton, the seven-time champion of the sport, revealed his fervent desire to race in Africa during a recent interview with ESPN.

While Kyalami Circuit, to the north of Johannesburg, which hosted the 1992 and 1993 Grand Prix is the readiest option, efforts to host the 2022 edition collapsed midway due to financial constraints.

Zanzibar is not only a new alternative but also one that comes with much-needed financial commitments.

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