The City of Cape Town’s bidding process for the Formula E race, which is set to take place next year, has been called into question by Cape Town Grand Prix SA. File Picture: Daimler AG.
The City of Cape Town’s bidding process for the Formula E race, which is set to take place next year, has been called into question by Cape Town Grand Prix SA. File Picture: Daimler AG.

Cape Town's Formula E bidding process called into question: 'What process was followed?'

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Aug 17, 2021

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s bidding process for the Formula E race, which is set to take place next year, has been called into question by Cape Town Grand Prix SA.

Cape Town Grand Prix SA (CTGPSA), promoters of the Formula One Grand Prix, and Formula E Grand Prix street circuit, in the Green Point Sport Tourism Precinct, stated that they are are once again in “utter disbelief at the blatant disregard for a fair and transparent” Formula E Grand Prix bidding process.

CTGPSA and eMovement – the promoters of the Cape Town leg of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – were both in the running as bidders to host the race in Cape Town.

CTGPSA stated that it has previously engaged the City to address this very issue, however, they added that a trend has started to emerge – where previously disadvantaged small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMME’s) appear to be side-lined.

The promoters recounted how, since 2017, it has engaged the City and that, in 2019, CTGPSA requested a meeting with mayor Dan Plato, which took place on August 15, but that they “we were met with a dismissive attitude and not given the opportunity to present our proposal in discussions, as it participated in the transparent bidding process” (see full account below).

In a statement on Tuesday, CTGPSA said: “In a subsequent meeting with Leonora de Souza-Zilwa and her team on August 27, 2019, CTGPSA presented the bid proposal and left the detailed brochure behind.

“Sadly, an endorsement or support was once again not forthcoming,” said CTGPSA.

“The mayor’s announcement on July 8, 2021, announcing that Cape Town will play host to round 4 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, on February 26, 2022, once again took CTGPSA by surprise, since no further communication or engagement was pursued by the City after the August 2019 meetings.

“A further announcement followed on July 28, 2021, unveiling the Formula E track – which we recognised as our concept, in respect of the location and street circuit, initially created in 1999, and further developed and refined in 2011, in consultation with F1 Circuit Designers & Consultants,” CTGPSA said.

“This constituted a direct infringement of copyright and contravention of Intellectual Property (IP) of CTGPSA’s track and concept, patented in 2005, and officially released to the media in January 2011.

“The City of Cape Town has made it expressly clear to CTGPSA that they would not contribute financially towards upgrades or impact studies, even going as far as red-flagging our bid in the media.

“Yet, the City now plans to spend R44 million on road upgrades,” said CTGPSA.

CTGPSA is seeking answers from mayor Dan Plato and the City, on why long-standing bidders have been deprived of a fair and transparent opportunity.

“On what grounds did the eMovement consortium win this Formula E bid? What process was followed? Where is the public participation process?

“Why have you denied us the very endorsement, financial support, and related processes and studies, which you are granting the eMovement consortium?

“You have missed an opportunity for both CTGPSA and eMovement to come to the table, where an amicable joint effort could have been pursued towards a mutually beneficial collaboration, especially since it would offer our team a unique opportunity to gain invaluable experience, as we pursue our bid to host the Formula One Grand Prix,” said CTGPSA.

Igshaan Amlay, CTGPSA chief executive, added: “We have built this bid on honesty and integrity, and our vision is to leave a lasting legacy.

“The stand we are taking is not only for us, but for all who come after us, perhaps even finding themselves in a similar boat right now. Our resolve is strengthened to bring the Formula One Grand Prix to a street circuit, in the Green Point Sport Tourism Precinct, in Cape Town.

“We believe it will mark another historical milestone for our nation and one pioneered by the people, for the people,” said Amlay.

The City of Cape Town said it would respond to the statement by CTGPSA on Wednesday.

The full statement from CTGPSA can be read below:

Cape Argus

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