F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has given local motorsport a welcome boost by backing the bid to bring F1 racing back to South Africa “within five years”.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has given local motorsport a welcome boost by backing the bid to bring F1 racing back to South Africa “within five years”.

Ecclestone on Wednesday endorsed the bid to bring F1 racing to Cape Town. David Gant and business consortium Omega have been gaining support to stage Grand Prix racing in South Africa from 2007. This country last hosted a grand prix race in 1993.

An area near to Cape Town International Airport has been earmarked for the development of a new racing circuit.

"We are going to South Africa - it's not a question of if, it's only when," Ecclestone said in an interview with ."There will be a South African Grand Prix hosted by Cape Town within five years… three years, tops."

Ecclestone said hosting the F1 races at the proposed Cape Town circuit would be beneficial to all parties involved.

"It will be good for Formula One, for South Africa and the city. Plans are well advanced and I believe that the government may well become involved."

Gant has recognised that it would be very difficult to host a leg of the championship without government support.

“We have just concluded a constructive round of talks with Formula One Management (FOM) and have formed the South African F1 Grand Prix Bid Company, which will formally apply for the licence in the early part of next year," said Gant. "We are currently in continued talks with government in respect of their participation and these are proving extremely positive."

"We already have a commitment from the private sector for 50 per cent of the funds that we require from that source. Circuit designer Hermann Tilke will be visiting the proposed site in December and will begin the process of design of the track and infrastructure. Bernie's endorsement and clear enthusiasm for the idea is invaluable."

If the bid to host a F1 race in Cape Town were successful, it would be the second international racing series hosted in the country. South Africa will participate in the A1 Grand Prix racing series, which starts in September next year. The South African car was presented to local seat holder Tokyo Sexwale at a glittering event in Midrand on Monday evening.