South African Grand Prix Call for 2024 Season

Could F1 Return to the Kyalami Circuit?

As a way of further consolidating its status as the world's most famous sport, Formula One has put plans in place for a South African Grand Prix for the 2024 edition of the race series. Formula One last held an African race event in 1993 at the Kyalami Circuit. The President and Chief Executive Officer of Formula One, Stefano Domenicali has conducted meetings to discuss the matter with South African Grand Prix Officials and stakeholders in a bid to revamp the circuit for an African Grand Prix Comeback. 

F1 also made a call for the African country to be a part of the 2023 calendar considering the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as a result of excessive flooding as well as the Chinese Grand Prix as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, the talks were not fruitful and after deliberations, the Spa Circuit was considered to host the Belgian Grand Prix. Given the state of the discussions and proposed deliberations, a South African Grand Prix is expected to be held in the 2025 season (earliest timeframe). 

Why 2025 is the earliest a South African Grand Prix can be held is supposedly due to confrontations from the United States Ambassador to South Africa that the African Country has allied with Russia in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict by supplying weapons to Russia for mass destruction, who are considered to be in good terms. This comes after Formula One aborted Russia’s bid to partake in the race series and the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix as a result of the Ukrainian invasion. 

Stefano alluded that Formula One has to leave its impact throughout the whole world, and there is absolutely no better way to do that than to start refocusing on African development for the race events to be conducted on the continent. He further stated that Formula One is a World Championship, yet they haven’t been really to Africa. Stefano strongly pushed for an African Grand Prix to be held soonest so that the whole world can also tap into the thrills and spills of the racing series, stressing that Africa is forgotten as F1 has its roots on all other continents.

Upon hearing the opinion of Formula One drivers regarding the call for an African Grand Prix, the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton was revealed as the biggest upholder of the notion to also consider Africa to be a host arguing that he admired the direction that F1 is headed to. He also noted that for an individual who has been in F1 for a very long time, he feels elated with F1`s move to target different parts of the world and different circuits a well adding that since Formula One has been hosted in all other continents of the world, perhaps the time has come to host a Grand Prix in the African Continent as well. 

It has been confirmed however that South Africa is not on the 2024 Calendar after F1 published its 2024 Calendar. So far, South Africa had the opportunity to host a total of 21 F1 races between 1967 and 1993 and after three decades, it remains to be seen when F1 will officially return to the Kyalami Circuit.