The Formula 1 World Championship has not visited one of the world’s continents for decades. Africa has not organized a Formula 1 race since March 14, 1993, when the last South African Grand Prix in history was held. That is about to change, because the negotiations for that race to return are well advanced.
It would be the same South African Grand Prix and on the same track, the Kyalami, although revamped. Although it is not ruled out that the race can be carried out as early as 2022, the most realistic goals set by the organization is for Africa to be part of Formula 1 again in 2023, when the pandemic is calmer.
Kyalami will be refurbished to host Formula 1
Behind the organization of this possible race is Warren Scheckter, the nephew of the legendary Jody Scheckter, the only African Formula 1 world champion. “The date we still set is 2022, but this may change due to the coronavirus. It is more realistic to think of 2023. South Africa is the best place for a Grand Prix to be played in Africa because of its history in sport, “he says.
The flirtations between Formula 1 and Africa have been going on for many months, and in fact it was the pandemic that slowed the whole process. But the position of both parties remains firm: They want to bring the South African Grand Prix back to the Formula 1 World Championship. Although it is not the only option.
Stefano Domenicali, the new CEO of Formula 1, has mentioned that they have the proposal from South Africa on the table, but that there are also other options in North Africa. It has long been rumored that Morocco would like to have their own Grand Prix, just as they already have their Formula E event.
The Kyalami circuit was last renovated in 2015 and will surely need some refurbishment work to organize a Formula 1 Grand Prix. It is something the organization already has. Own Lewis Hamilton has been enthusiastic about the idea of running a Formula 1 race in Africa.
Throughout history there have been 24 Formula 1 Grand Prix in Africa23 of them in South Africa and 20 on the Kyalami circuit. Only the three South African Grand Prix held in East London and the decisive 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix at Ain-Diab, where Mike Hawthorn won the World Cup against Stirling Moss, are out of the norm.
If it will be 30 years without a race in Africa, for pilots the drought is even greater. The last African runner was Scheckter, who won the World Cup in 1979 with Ferrari and retired in 1980. Since then, it has been more than four decades without an African driver in Formula 1. They reached 20 and they are missed. From Liberty Media they want them to come back and Kyalami is the first step.
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