The Formula 1 World Championship calendar for 2023 will finally include no races in Africa for the 30th consecutive year. This has been and is the continent that has hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend the fewest times, with 23 editions, 22 of them held in South Africa between 1962 and 1993, and a single appointment at the Moroccan Grand Prix in 1958.
However, with the expansion that the calendar has undergone in recent years, Liberty Media ‘s desire to race on five continents, together with the contacts that the general manager of F1, Stefano Domenicali , has had in recent years with some venues that also dream of Africa’s return to the premier category of motorsport, is getting closer, in fact, it is not ruled out for 2024 .
For this to be confirmed, Domenicali acknowledged that he needs to find a viable project that can last over time, a grand prize that is not a sporadic event with no future.
For example, the Italian assured that returning to the Kyalami track, which is one of the two circuits in Africa that have an FIA Grade 2 (a Grade 1 is necessary to organize a Formula 1 event) and that has been for For a long time at the center of rumours, it is not the only option for the highest category of motorsport.
“We are looking for something new, and we have to make sure we do it with the right partners and that the credentials that are presented to us are stable enough to stay [on the calendar] for a long time,” he explained on Sky Sport s.
“It would be a very negative thing to go [to an African circuit] to compete for a year and have it disappear if the conditions are not right.”
“You have to find a venue that has the right financial assets, but it’s also very important that the venue is ready no matter what weekend we want to [hold the Grand Prix].”
“The only thing I can say is that after the first contact with Kyalami, other places in Africa have become interested in Formula 1. It is a very clear objective. We hope that Africa will be back on the calendar very soon .”
If Kyalami does not meet the requirements of current F1, what circuits could replace it? Morocco has another grade 2 track, the Moulay El Hassan circuit, which has been hosting Formula E for a few years, on the streets of Marrakech. In 2019, Sean Bratches, then F1’s chief commercial officer, revealed that the country had shown “huge interest”.
It should also be noted that, during the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix in early October, Stefano Domenicali and Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, had some talks.
Niki Lauda, Ferrari, 1976 South African GP