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Pit Building and Convention Centre along the main straight at Kyalami Circuit, April 2016. South Africa.

South Africa to make its return to F1 “as soon as possible”

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South Africa could be back on the Formula One schedule after a 29-year hiatus. 

The field head into Crowthorne Corner: the first turn on the circuit. South African Grand Prix, Rd 3, Kyalami, South Africa, 4 March 1978. (PhotoCredit: motorsportimages.com)

Formula One has added extra venues onto their roster for races. We saw the Miami Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago and Las Vegas will be on the calendar for 2023.

The CEO of the sport, Stefano Domenicali, said earlier this year that Formula One has the potential to have a 30-race season. He commented on the possibility of having that number of races due to the high volume of countries who already have circuits, and those that want to host.

Las Vegas was confirmed as a venue for 2023 two months ago, and now the focus is on South Africa. The country was a part of Formula One for 21 years between 1967 to 1985 and again in 1992-1993.

If Formula One was to return to South Africa, the race would be held at Kyalami. But the continent of Africa is unknown to Liberty Media, being the only continent without a race on the current schedule.

Comments about returning to Africa

Earlier this year, Lewis Hamilton expressed his desire to race there. He said: “The one I really, really want to see is South Africa. That’s the one I really want to hear next that gets announced.”

Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali mentioned the “potential” of having a race in Africa, saying “there is a lot of interest there”. Since then, he has confirmed to The New York Times that a deal could be reached for the sport to return to Africa.

The CEO said: “We have two options for a new race, and the most likely to hopefully happen soon is South Africa.” He continued saying that it is a “part of [their] agenda” to see the continent back in F1.

“There is a commitment to see if this could be on the calendar as soon as possible.”

Toby Venter

The owner of Kyalami, Toby Venter, shares a similar view to Hamilton and Domenicali. Venter told Wheels24: “We want to have a race in Africa.” He said that “if the money is there, the race will happen. And, if F1 is desperate to race in Africa, even without the money, we have the track.”

Liberty Media

Kyalami looks to be the popular venue to host a South African Grand Prix. However, Liberty Media have hinted that Johannesburg could be the venue. Greg Maffei, CEO of the company, said:

“Johannesburg is definitely on our list. You’d love to have one in Cape Town, but I’m not sure that’s doable, so Johannesburg is the more likley.”

Zak Brown

McLaren’s CEO also expressed his desire to race in Africa. Brown said that Africa is a “great market”. He commented on the “great place” Formula One is in in America, but also spoke about the return to Asia.

Singapore and Japan are back on the calendar for 2022, but Brown said “it is unfortunate with Covid that [F1 is] missing China again.” He added that he would “like to see [F1] continue to grow in Asia.”

Return to Africa

With talks being held within Formula 1 and Domenicali’s comments, it is likley that we could have confirmation of a return to Africa very soon.

Feature Image: motorsportimages.com

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