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Politics Derail South Africa's F1 Comeback Bid

Kyalami Blames Russia Ties for F1 Return Failure Intro

02/06/2024

South Africa’s anticipated return to Formula 1 faced political roadblocks due to concerns over the country’s connections with Russia, says Kyalami.

South Africa’s anticipated return to Formula 1 faced political roadblocks due to concerns over the country’s connections with Russia, says Kyalami.

Despite a substantial number of F1 personalities advocating for a return to Africa, the continent has not hosted an official race for over three decades.

Lewis Hamilton has championed the cause, arguing it is unjust for Africa to be neglected while the United States hosts three races annually.

Though there have been plans to return to Morocco, or potentially Rwanda or Zanzibar, the Kyalami circuit near Johannesburg, South Africa, is seen as the obvious choice.

Kyalami, which hosted several F1 races between 1967 and 1993, is considered one of the sport’s most historic tracks.

The much-anticipated return of Formula 1 to South Africa seemed possible in 2022 when Kyalami’s management met with all concerned groups, including the FOM.

Toby Venter, CEO of the OT Venter Group, which owns the Kyalami circuit, claims the controversial involvement of Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in South Africa, as well as the docking of a Russian ship at a naval base, derailed the plans.

“The process appeared to be on track until negotiations failed due to South Africa’s ties with Russia.”

“Subsequently, the Americans became wary.”

Venter added, “The group had already developed extensive plans and preparations to modernise the circuit, so it was very sad that, unfortunately, politics intervened.”

He asserted that F1 is “not a true world championship without Africa.”

“I believe that if F1 came to Africa, it would be very popular because there are clubs in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, everywhere… the whole of Africa would come to this country to support F1.”

Politics Derail South Africa's F1 Comeback Bid

Politics Derail South Africa’s F1 Comeback Bid. Politics Derail South Africa’s F1 Comeback Bid

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