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Formula 1: Morocco Grand Prix talks as owners look for Africa race

Formula 1 is in talks to hold a race in Morocco, according to commercial boss Sean Bratches.

The last grand prix to be staged in Morocco was in 1958, when Great Britain's Stirling Moss won in Casablanca
The last grand prix to be staged in Morocco was in 1958, when Great Britain’s Stirling Moss won in Casablanca

If the event comes off, it would be the first F1 race held in Africa since the 1993 South African Grand Prix.

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

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

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Bratches said it was “really important” for F1’s owner Liberty Media to have a race in Africa and that they were also looking at a race in South Africa “in the short term”.

Next year will see the first Vietnamese Grand Prix in the south-east Asian country’s capital Hanoi, and the Dutch Grand Prix at the historic Zandvoort track returns to the calendar for the first time since 1985.

The all-electric Formula E championship already holds an event in Morocco – a street race in Marrakech.

The last grand prix to be staged in Morocco was in 1958, when Stirling Moss won in Casablanca.

Despite the addition of Vietnam and the Netherlands, Bratches added that he expected F1 to continue with a 21-race calendar next year.

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

Five races are out of contract at the end of this season – Britain, Italy, Germany, Mexico and Spain.

F1 has already announced that it has an “agreement in principle” to continue the Italian Grand Prix at Monza until 2024, having agreed the duration and financial terms of the contract.

Silverstone is believed to be close to securing its own future with a new deal.

Bratches 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.”

If Silverstone does agree a new deal, that would potentially leave Germany, Mexico and Spain without races for next year. BBC Sports