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Will South African GP be back in 2024? Much uncertainty over F1's return

Will South African GP be back in 2024? Much uncertainty over F1's return

20-09-2022 20:27 Last update: 21-09-2022 08:46


With the announcement of the Formula 1 calendar for 2023, suspicions regarding the absence of the South African Grand Prix were confirmed. It is assumed that the race will be on the calendar in 2024, but there is much uncertainty about the South African government's position and so a return to Circuit Kyalami does not seem that certain.

Uncertainty over South African GP

F1's alleged return to South Africa raised many questions within the country, as the government seemed to show little interest in the event. For instance, nothing was reportedly done to gauge public interest, nor the economic impact an event of this calibre could have on the country. Questions on the subject from the media were also not responded to, reports News24.com.

Another obstacle is the circuit's Grade 2 certification. This makes it eligible to host several FIA events, but not F1, which requires Grade 1 certification. Earlier this year, Kyalami's management team reportedly said that there are plans to acquire that certification, but the required modifications to the circuit have not yet been made.

The required modifications are the installation of tech-pro barriers at certain corners, the modification of the raised curbs to make them F1-friendly, the replacement of gravel bins with asphalt and the necessary adjustments to accommodate the number of expected visitors during the weekend.

Funding poses obstacle to Kyalami

As funding was a major obstacle and further challenges arose behind the scenes, the required modifications could not be implemented. The government did not intervene in the issue because the circuit is privately owned, it said in a comment. "The Department does not have access to information on how long it is anticipated it would take to upgrade the Kyalami circuit to F1 status," the statement reads.

Nor would the ministry know whether financial guarantees from the government would be required: "This is because the Department has not received any application Bid for F1 as prescribed by the Bidding and Hosting of International Sport and Recreational Events Regulations."

Clearly, communication between the parties involved has been far from optimal, causing South Africa to miss out on the chance to bring back the Grand Prix in 2023. A new opportunity presents itself in 2024, but stakeholders will have to learn lessons from the missed opportunities if they want to host an F1 race for the first time since 1993.