Organisers are hopeful of securing the return of the South African Grand Prix to the Formula 1 World Championship in 2023.
While there had been some speculation that a race at the famous Kyalami track could be on for 2022, it seems the effects of the pandemic have taken that off the table.
South African Grand Prix targets 2023 return
Warren Scheckter, CEO of SAGP the company trying to revive the South African Grand Prix revealed that the venue needs some work to get up to Formula 1 standards.
Kyalami last hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1993 but the sport’s chief executive Stefano Domenicali remains eager to secure a return to the African continent.
SAGP have not given up hope of securing a race in 2022 but feel that it is more realistic to expect a return in 2023.
“The target date is still 2022 but that could shift due to the effects of the pandemic, so 2023 is maybe more likely,” Scheckter told RaceFans.
Seven-time Formula 1 World Driver’s Champion Lewis Hamilton has supported the notion of a return to Africa, seeing it as crucial to the growth of the sport.
“It’s great that Lewis, a person as high-profile and influential as himself, has indicated his support for an African Grand Prix,” said Scheckter.
“Obviously South Africa is the most likely place for that to happen being that it’s a country that has a huge history in Formula 1. It had its own Formula 1 racing series back in the seventies, had a Formula 1 world champion itself and as a country it has quite a big following.
“Most importantly it has a race track that’s really ready to go, that’s very close to being F1-standard. If there were to be an African Grand Prix, South Africa and Kyalami is the most logical place that it would happen.
“It’s great that Lewis is showing his support for an African Grand Prix. An African Grand Prix is going to be a huge boost for bringing diversity to the sport at all levels.”
There has been talk of a street race in one of South Africa’s major centres possibly attracting Formula 1 back to the country but at this stage Kyalami does appear to be the best bet for promoters.
Two venues have staged the South African Grand Prix with the Prince George Circuit in East London hosting the race from 1934 until 1966 and Kyalami staging the race 21 times between 1967 and 1993.