South Africa F1 return edges closer

South Africa F1 return edges closer

Formula 1 is in serious negotiations with Kyalami about taking the sport back to South Africa as it works to finalize its 2023 calendar.

The last South African Grand Prix took place in 1993 at the circuit just north of Johannesburg, with F1 not having even raced on the African continent since then. Provisional talks had previously taken place about a return but RACER understands Stefano Domenicali will head to South Africa next week for further discussions.

Next year is a possibility, but it’s more likely that South Africa would be added in 2024, giving a bit more time for preparations and calendar planning. With Qatar also joining next year’s schedule, the French Grand Prix is set to drop off, although organizers are hopeful of entering into an agreement that will see Paul Ricard alternate with another European round.

The iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit is also looking under threat, with its contract expiring at the end of this year and an extension not yet agreed, potentially making it a candidate for rotation with France. However, Belgium could get a stay of execution if the Chinese Grand Prix doesn’t return to the calendar.

With F1 also keen to improve the logistics and travel impact of events, the sport is looking to combine certain races based on their region, with a desire to see Miami and Montreal paired together on the schedule.

Bahrain is likely to be the location for pre-season testing and host the opening race once again with Australia set to be the third round and remain in Melbourne despite tentative discussions with Sydney about a potential move.

While there has been uncertainty over Monaco’s place on the calendar, F1 is expected to agree an extension with certain clauses related to the running of the event, although this could be a relatively short-term deal to allow for further discussions about how the race in the principality is executed.

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