Formula 1’s return to Africa is more likely to happen in 2023 than next season, according to the CEO of a company looking to revive the world championship round at Kyalami.
Warren Scheckter, CEO of SAGP, told RaceFans the former home of the South African Grand Prix was the “most logical place” for F1 to race at. Kyalami held its last grand prix in 1993.
Scheckter, nephew of 1979 world champion Jody Scheckter who is chairman of the board at SAGP, said the South African venue requires little work to bring it up to modern F1 standards. Kyalami was last renovated in 2015.
Formula 1 planned to hold a Fan Festival in Johannesburg last March, but the pandemic forced its cancellation. However president and CEO Stefano Domenicali this month reiterated the sport’s desire to return to the African continent, saying expressions of interest had been received from promoters in “north Africa [and] South Africa”.
While a race could take place in the 2022 F1 season, Scheckter believes the following year is a more realistic option. “The target date is still 2022 but that could shift due to the effects of the pandemic, so 2023 is maybe more likely,” he said.
The race would likely enjoy the support of seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who said last year Africa is “such an important place” for Formula 1 to return to.
“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.”
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