The African circuit of Kyalami hosted its last F1 Grand Prix in 1993. However, Formula One’s return to South Africa is most likely to happen in 2023, says the CEO of a company looking to revive the world championship round in the African continent.
According to Warren Scheckter, CEO of SAGP, the former home of the South African GP was the “most logical place” for F1 to race at.
During an exclusive interview with Racefans.net, Scheckter, who is the nephew of 1979 world champion Jody Scheckter, claims that the South African venue requires little work to ensure it meets the standards of modern F1.
Formula 1 was already planning to hold a special event in Johannesburg last March, but the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the Fan Festival. Nevertheless, newly-appointed F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali stressed the desire of the sport to go back to the African continent, especially considering the expressions of interest received from promoters in both “North Africa [and] South Africa”.
The circuit has been substantially redeveloped to bring it up to FIA Grade 2 standard and last week F1 commercial boss Sean Bratches referenced it while confirming "very productive conversations" about hosting a race in South Africa after 2021.
While it could be feasible to arrange a race already in the 2022 calendar, Scheckter 2023 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.
Even seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, expressed his support for the possibility of travelling to South Africa, claiming that it would be “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.
“An African Grand Prix is going to be a huge boost for bringing diversity to the sport at all levels.”
“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.