In its pursuit of being a truly global championship, Formula 1 has been eagerly seeking a race in Africa. The Kyalami circuit, renowned for its history in hosting Grand Prix events until 1993, has emerged as the top contender for the coveted spot.
Over the past year, F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali has engaged in discussions with circuit officials and other stakeholders involved in the South African GP, aiming to revive the event. Originally, the plan was to include the race in the 2024 schedule, but there were attempts to add it to the 2023 calendar following the cancellation of the Chinese and Emilia Romagna GPs due to COVID-19 and flooding, respectively.
However, those negotiations fell through, leading to the Belgian GP host circuit, Spa, securing a one-year extension for 2024, marking its second short-term deal in a row. Consequently, a South African GP will not take place until 2025 at the earliest. F1 Flow.com has learned that F1 is hesitant to proceed with potentially unsustainable plans for a 2024 race that could result in the event collapsing prematurely before its contracted term is fulfilled.
The setback in organizing the Kyalami race comes in the wake of accusations made by the United States ambassador to South Africa, alleging that the country has supplied arms to Russia, with whom it maintains a close political relationship. F1 terminated the Russian GP contract last year following the invasion of Ukraine.
Discussing the aspiration to include Africa in the F1 calendar back in 2022, Domenicali expressed, “There are regions in the world that desire to have Formula 1, and I believe that Africa is one such region. We are a global championship, and it’s an area where we are currently absent.”
Among the drivers, seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is a vocal advocate for a return to Kyalami. During the recent Miami GP, he remarked, “Personally, I appreciate the direction F1 is taking. Having been here for a long time, like many others, I embrace the changes and the excitement of visiting different parts of the world and different circuits. We are present on all other continents, so I hope we can soon race in Africa, which would be an incredible experience for the entire motorsport community to immerse themselves in the local culture.”
Photo by: F1 Flow Images
Source: F1 Flow.com
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about South African GP plans
What is the reason for the postponement of the South African GP plans in Formula 1?
The South African GP plans in Formula 1 are being postponed due to logistical concerns and geopolitical issues. These factors have made it necessary to delay the event until at least 2025.
Why was the Kyalami circuit chosen for the South African GP?
The Kyalami circuit was chosen for the South African GP due to its historical significance and past experience in hosting Grand Prix events. It has been a frontrunner for the race and is highly regarded in the motorsport community.
Who has been involved in the discussions to revive the South African GP?
F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali has been actively involved in discussions with circuit officials and other stakeholders to revive the South African GP. He has been working towards bringing the event back to the Formula 1 calendar.
What impact did geopolitical issues have on the South African GP plans?
Geopolitical issues, including allegations of arms supply to Russia by South Africa, have impacted the South African GP plans. These issues have created uncertainties and led to a delay in organizing the race to ensure a stable and sustainable event in the future.
Who has expressed support for a return to the Kyalami circuit?
Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been a vocal advocate for a return to the Kyalami circuit. He has expressed his excitement about racing in Africa and experiencing the local culture, highlighting the importance of including Africa in the Formula 1 calendar.
More about South African GP plans
- F1 Flow.com: The source of the original text.
- Formula 1 Official Website: Official website of Formula 1, where you can find updates and news about the sport.
- Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit: Official website of the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, providing information about the circuit and its history.
- Stefano Domenicali – Formula 1 CEO: Learn more about Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of Formula 1, and his role in the sport.
- Lewis Hamilton Official Website: The official website of Lewis Hamilton, where you can follow his career and statements about the South African GP.