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By Editorial staff


Money, not morality, may be in pole position with F1

Formula 1 is all about money and silly issues like human rights don’t seem to bother those running the sport.

At face value, it seems as though South Africa may have lost the opportunity to host a wildly popular Formula One Grand Prix at Johannesburg’s legendary Kyalami circuit … because of our fawning relationship with Russia.

Reports from global F1 news sites say that Formula 1 has abandoned plans to return to Kyalami next year, after an absence of more than three decades.

The reasons being cited for the collapse of the deal include the war in Ukraine, global motorsport body FIA’s ban on Russian events and refusal to allow Russian drivers to compete under their country’s assigned racing licence; coupled with South Africa’s neutral stance on the conflict.

ALSO READ: Kyalami Grand Prix officially non-starting over SA’s stance on Russia

The international backers are said to be also worried about the cloud hanging over the cargo loaded on to the Russian cargo ship Lady R at Simon’s Town naval base last year.

That the 2024 race was more than just speculation was solidified by a Dutch newspaper running a picture of a Formula 1 race calendar, which showed Kyalami as replacing the Belgian Grand Prix.

Formula 1 is all about money and silly issues like human rights don’t seem to bother those running the sport – as evidenced by Grands Prix being held in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which have questionable records in that regard.

ALSO READ: F1 returning to South Africa? Report claims Kyalami deal signed

On the other hand, Russia is much more of a pariah when it comes to the West (which effectively controls F1), so perhaps a moral stand is not that implausible. However, what is also possible is the fact that there was not enough money in the deal in South Africa to justify it.

A lack of major backing – which runs into billions of rand – has been the reason F1 has not made it back here over the years. Money, not morality, may well be in pole position in this case…

NOW READ: F1: Apparent Kyalami 2023 return provides more confusion than clarity

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