We might have to forget about seeing a South African Grand Prix happen anytime soon. According to reports, South Africa has allegedly lost its bid to host a Formula One race in the near future, purportedly due to its political alignment with Russia.
This development comes as plans to reintroduce the Kyalami circuit into the Formula One calendar gained traction after seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton expressed his interest in racing in South Africa. Remarkably, Africa remains the only continent without a race on the Formula One schedule.
Last year, it was reported that South Africa had failed to secure the hosting rights for a race in 2023 due to unresolved financial matters during negotiations between Formula One and promoter Warren Scheckter. Consequently, efforts shifted towards organizing a South African Grand Prix in 2024, with the event’s promotion being taken over by 777, a sports investment company based in Miami.
Nonetheless, racingnews365 has indicated that a decision has been made to abandon the plans for a South African Grand Prix in the foreseeable future due to political considerations. “According to sources, the decision was made because South Africa is closely aligned with Russia,” reported racingnews365. While Formula One has refrained from commenting on these rumors, it is likely that this decision will spare the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, ensuring the continuation of the Belgian Grand Prix on the calendar for at least another year.
South Africa, as a member of the Brics association comprising emerging economies such as Russia, Brazil, China, and India, has faced criticism for its failure to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, as the host of the upcoming Brics summit in August, South Africa faces a diplomatic predicament as it is expected to grant diplomatic immunity to Russian President Vladimir Putin despite an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
South Africa has not hosted Formula 1 since 1993 at the Kyalami circuit.