Hope still for Kyalami F1 return in 2023

F1's owners want a race on every continent where people have cars.

Amid growing speculation of Formula 1 (F1) returning to South Africa in 2023, the owners of the sport have expressed hope that the clinching of a deal could still take place this year.

Despite it being reported two weeks ago that nothing had been finalised despite a visit from F1 President Stefano Domenicali in the same week, Liberty Media CEO, Greg Maffei, said negotiations are progressing with the likelihood of the race happening in April should a deal be signed.

“We’ll see. We try to say we race on every continent where people have cars. We’re trying, we haven’t gotten there yet. But we’re trying. I think things set up well there,” motorsport.com quoted Maffei as saying over the weekend in response to preceding reports of Nice’s interest in hosting the French Grand Prix.

Liberty Media owns F1.

In a prior interview with the publication, former Ferrari boss Domenicali, who had been at the helm of Lamborghini from 2016 to 2020 before replacing Liberty’s Chase Carey last year, said “discussions are making progress and I think we’ll have an answer soon”.

Pictured alongside Kyalami owner, Toby Venter, outside the main pit area after conducting an apparent oversight of the facilities some two weeks ago, Domenicali’s visit added fuel to a rapidly burning fire after both seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and reigning title holder Max Verstappen previously stated that a return to Africa, and therefore South Africa, should take place.

ALSO READ: Kyalami F1 update: No deal confirmed yet, wheels in motion

Not held since 1993, a race won by Alain Prost for Williams ahead of McLaren’s Ayrton Senna and Ligier’s Mark Blundell, the main issue surrounds certain upgrades preventing Kyalami from obtaining an FIA Level 1 grading needed to host a Formula 1 race.

At present, the Level 2 rating allows any motorsport type race, FIA sanctioned or not, to be held, except Formula 1, with speculation alleging 2024 as being more viable in order for enough time to implement the mentioned changes.

The likely inclusion of Kyalami, which has hosted 21 of the 28 South African Grand Prix between 1961 and 1993, has however attracted controversy not only from a financial standpoint, but also claims of it replacing the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Also in apparent danger is the Monaco Grand Prix and the mentioned French Grand Prix, the latter having received expensive panning since settling at Paul Ricard five years ago, while the Chinese Grand Prix remains in constant doubt.

Until an announcement is made, expect more claims and rumours to emerge over the coming weeks.

Read more on these topics

formula 1 Kyalami