F1 makes South African Grand Prix call for 2024 calendar

Africa is the only continent that F1 does not race in but the sport is keen to return to the Kyalami circuit outside Johannesburg

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Friday 09 June 2023 13:07 BST
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Formula 1 has reportedly discarded hopes of the South African Grand Prix being added to the 2024 calendar, with Spa likely to be the beneficiary of another one-year reprieve.

F1 has been keen to add a grand prix in Africa – the only continent the sport currently does not race in – and the Kyalami circuit outside Johannesburg had been earmarked as the venue for a return to South Africa for the first time since 1993.

However, after original talks to be on the 2023 calendar collapsed and while F1 have not officially given and update, there are now political reasons why South Africa will reportedly miss out on a slot next year.

South Africa’s failure to condemn the actions of Vladimir Putin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has contributed, as has F1’s concerns regarding the long-term sustainability of the event following a change of promoters.

It will likely mean Spa-Francorchamps – host of the Belgian Grand Prix, a fan favourite on the calendar – will be handed another one-year extension for a race in 2024.

However, a return to South Africa for 2025 and beyond has not been ruled out permanently.

Lewis Hamilton has been vocal in his support of a race in Africa, saying last month: “It’s a real big dream for me to race in South Africa, and race in Africa in my career is a huge, huge dream for me.

“I know I have a big following out there and I know a lot of people are into Formula 1 now there so I’m pushing as hard as I can in the background and I’m going high up to make sure we have that race happen.

F1 has not raced at Kyalami since 1993
F1 has not raced at Kyalami since 1993 (Getty Images)

“We’re on all the other continents, so I’m hoping we get to go to Africa soon and that will be an amazing experience for the whole circus to experience the culture there.”

F1 boss Stefano Domenicali added last year: “There are areas of the world that wants to have Formula 1 and I think one area that we want to develop is the African area.

“We are a world championship and that’s an area where we are not there.”

The Chinese Grand Prix was cancelled this year due to Covid-19 restrictions but the race in Shanghai is likely to return in 2024 as it has two years remaining on its contract.

Aside from that, the race venues look set to remain the same next year including Imola, after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled last month due to flooding in the region.

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