F1 nears deal to secure South African Grand Prix

Jessica Thompson

Formula One is moving closer to securing a South African Grand Prix at former race venue Kyalami, which could be on the schedule as early as next year.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has flown straight from Baku, host of Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP, to South Africa for talks over the potential return.

F1 has been looking to add a race in Africa, the only remaining continent without one.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been one of the most vocal advocates of a race at Kyalami, situated north of Johannesburg.

Kayalami hosted F1 races between 1967 and 1985, and again in 1992 and 1993, and has recently had its facilities brought up to The FIA standards required to host a modern race.

Although 2024 has always been seen as the most likely return point for Kyalami it is understood F1 is now keen to secure the race for 2023 if possible.

Should it do so, F1 would officially hit the limit of 24 races outlined in the Conchord Agreement which binds all the teams to F1. Kyalami would join the new Las Vegas Grand Prix, set to take place over Thanksgiving weekend, and the Qatar Grand Prix, which has signed a 10-year deal to host races.

The Chinese Grand Prix also has a contract to host a race in 2023 but the status of that event remains uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the races which will make way, the French Grand Prix looks unlikely to continue beyond this year’s event at Paul Ricard. The future of the popular Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps is also uncertain.

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