While the French Grand Prix will not return next season, Formula One is working on adding new dates to the calendar. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is after a Grand Prix that could be held in South Africa at Kyalami. A project which Lewis Hamilton is insisting on.
It is no secret that Formula 1 is planning to make several changes in the coming years. This season, the Miami Grand Prix has been added to the calendar, while the Las Vegas Grand Prix will be added in a year’s time. F1’s objective is to have at least one Grand Prix on each continent.
At the moment, one of them is not included; namely Africa.
“The one I really, really want to see is South Africa. That’s the one I want to hear next that gets announced,” said Hamilton in the press.
“There are areas of the world that want to host Formula One, and I think one area we want to develop is Africa,” said Stefano Domenicali,
“We are a World Championship, and it is a region where we are not present,
“We are working very hard to ensure a scenario where we have a Grand Prix there soon…
“Then there is the interest from the Far East. But of course we don’t want to lose the interest of Europe. We were born here and we will stay here. I hear many things that are not true,
“The beauty of our situation today is that we have many options. And we will make the right decision, thinking about the strategy, thinking about the DNA of this sport, thinking about the fact that all the promoters want to work with us,” championship CEO Stefano Domenicali said recently.
If all goes according to plan, the South African Grand Prix, which would be most likely held in Kyalami, could even appear on the calendar as early as next season, although this is very unlikely due to the amount of work required to bring up to standard the circuit.
The original sweeping circuit used from 1961 was abandoned by Formula One due to political pressure over apartheid in 1985. After the end of apartheid in 1991, Formula One returned to Kyalami for two Grands Prix in 1992 and 1993. One of the more memorable F1 races held there was in 1977 which tragically saw a fatal accident claiming the life of a race Marshal and also F1 driver Tom Price.
The original circuit was constructed in 1961 and soon established itself as the premier motorsport facility in Southern Africa. The pleasant summer climate made Kyalami a favorite destination for European competitors unable to complete on home soil as a result of extreme winter conditions.
The 9 Hour Endurance race meeting held in November of each year attracted many famous race teams to the southern tip of Africa. In 1967, Kyalami became part of the Formula 1 World Championship firmly placing it on the international motorsport calendar.
The Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit hosted its opening event on the 4th November 1961, the circuit length being 4,104 km
After establishing itself as a regular Formula 1 venue Kyalami became regarded as one of the ten best Grand Prix Circuits in the world at the time. Kyalami hosted numerous international events on the original layout until 1988. 18 rounds of the F1 World Championship were hosted at the circuit between 1967 and 1985 with the annual 9 Hour and 1000 km endurances races continuing from the circuits inception until 1988.
Three official rounds of the World Sportscar Championship were hosted at Kyalami in 1974, 1983 and 1984 and the 500cc Motorcycle World Championship also visited Kyalami from 1983 to 1985.
The last Formula 1 races were held in the early nineties with the 1992 event dominated by Mansell and the 1993 running saw an intense battle between Prost, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, with Prost taking victory.
In July 1993 Kyalami was sold to the South African Automobile Association, which managed to run the facility at a profit; however, running a Formula One event proved too costly and the Grand Prix did not return.