'Johannesburg is more likely' - SA 'close' to finalising deal with Formula One for an Africa GP

  • The New York Times has reported that F1 could return to Kyalami in Johannesburg soon.
  • F1 chief whips are excited about the prospect of an 'Africa F1', seeing Gauteng as a likely destination.
  • Some pundits believe that F1 is expanding into new markets too quickly, shunning traditional venues.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Africa could be Formula One's next destination, even though the sport has decided not to replace the axed Russian GP this year. The New York Times claims a deal between former F1 host Kyalami, located near Johannesburg in South Africa, is "close to being completed".

"Johannesburg is definitely on our list," Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei confirmed. "You'd love to have one in Cape Town, but I'm not sure that's doable, so Johannesburg is the more likely."

READ | Max Verstappen: 'I'd like to race in Africa. So Kyalami would be a cool addition'

Do you think Kyalami is the ideal venue for an F1 race in SA, or would you like to see a street circuit in Cape Town or Durban? Let us know in the comments section, or please send us an email here.

BMW Kyalami 9 Hour
Kyalami is close to securing a deal to host an F1 race in South Africa - but will it happen in 2023?

Are they expanding too aggressively?

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali confirmed that South Africa is the "most likely" new venue for F1 that he hopes will happen "as soon as possible".

Maffei continued: "There's a potential desire to do another Asian race.

READ | 'The one I really want to see is South Africa,' says Lewis Hamilton on next F1 race addition

"We've had interest from places like Indonesia, going back to Malaysia, and there's been interest in other South American countries, Argentina and Colombia."

Some, however, are concerned that Formula 1 is too aggressively pushing into new markets while marginalising some of the sport's most historic European venues, including France and even Monaco.

Stefano Domenicali
Stefano Domenicali

Domenicali insists that F1 is just reminding older venues to improve.

"For those saying we are pushing too far and not being respectful to racing in Europe, this is wrong," said the Italian.

"What we are doing is pushing the system for a different approach, to force the promoters to think big because the level of the events we are building is getting bigger."

f1,formula 1,formula one,
Formula 1 will return to Las Vegas in 2023

Is the Russian GP gone for good?

What seems quite clear is that Russia, whose Vladimir Putin-backed grand prix at Sochi will not be replaced in 2022, will not be back in F1 any time soon.

Former Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin, who has just become a new director of the Russian Automobile Federation, says Russian drivers have been completely marginalised over the Ukraine conflict.

INTERVIEW | Is Formula 1 coming back to SA? Kyalami owner Toby Venter explains

Even in Russia, it is even being said that drivers who have agreed to race as a neutral athlete or with a non-Russian racing license are unpatriotic.

"Many drivers have a choice," he told Championat. "Either continue your career and not give up on what you've been doing for many years, or do something else instead of racing.

"So I don't think people should make such loud statements in such a situation. I would treat such decisions with respect," Sirotkin insisted.

Toby Venter (Kyalami CEO) is on record as saying that he would be delighted to see Formula 1 return to Kyalami: "We have also seen renewed interest in the media about the possibility of Formula 1 returning to the iconic Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. We, like you, remain hopeful that Formula 1 will return to Kyalami."

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