F1 Looking To Add African Grand Prix To 2023 Calendar

Formula One / Comments

But which country is best suited to host it?

F1's CEO, Stefano Domenicali, told CNN that Monaco's traditional four-day racing weekend was being cut down to just three days.

Monaco is known as the Crown Jewel in the F1 calendar, though it isn't an exciting race to watch. Monaco has minimal space for overtaking, so most people tune in to see the celebrities and fabulous displays of wealth. The reason the Monaco Grand Prix traditionally takes place over four days is a Christian holiday. This meant practice sessions take place on Thursday, with Friday left open for various parties. The qualifying would then resume on Saturday, followed by the main event on Sunday. Domenicali has now cut the race to three days in the usual format - practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday, and the race on Sunday.

However, the big news for next year is the possibility of an African Grand Prix. Domenicali confirmed that 23 races were scheduled for 2022, one more than the 22 races this year.

F1

Naturally, this got the rumor mill turning: There are currently two countries seemingly in the race to host F1. Domenicali said that Kyalami is interested in playing host, which would see the F1 circus return to South Africa for the first time since 1993. Kyalami went bankrupt, and there hasn't been an F1 race there since. For the record, Keke Rosberg still holds the record for the fastest lap at Kyalami. He posted a time of 1:08.149 on the track's original layout in an F1 car. The lap record for the current configuration is 1:42.021, set by Matt Campbell in a Porsche 911 GT3 racing car.

The track was bought in 2014 by Toby Venter, the owner of Porsche South Africa. He paid $13,979,372 for the track and another $6,819,206 renovating it. This famous track eventually received an FIA Grade 2 status, which allowed it to host the final race of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge.

We can tell you that Kyalami is an awesome track to drive, having been around there in a Ferrari 458 Italia. You haven't lived until you've driven down the Mineshaft, braking hard to make the tight right-hander at The Crocodiles.

Kyalami
Kyalami/Facebook
Kyalami/Facebook
Kyalami/Facebook
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Getting Kyalami to a state where it can host an F1 race will require some investment. As we understand it, the only significant change required is more run-off at the end of the straight.

Unfortunately, there is a spanner in the works. The people who own and run Kyalami are more than happy to host a Grand Prix but are not willing to finance the whole thing. There is no rate card for F1, but India hosted F1 for three years before giving up. The cost of the India race was estimated to be around $57.5 million.

A South African Grand Prix would be epic, however. Ask a local, and they'll tell you that they keep on hoping for an African Grand Prix. They'll also tell you that it's improbable. All of South Africa's state-owned enterprises are bankrupt, corruption is rife, and unemployment is at an all-time high. It's not just a case of whether the SA government can afford to pay for a race, but also a question of whether South Africans can afford to attend.

Domenicali said discussions are underway, but we'll have to wait and see if the talks go anywhere.

Kyalami/Facebook
Kyalami/Facebook
Kyalami/Facebook
Kyalami/Facebook

He also stated that there is interest from other countries but declined to say from where. Our best guess is Morocco since it also has a history in F1. The Casablanca Grand Prix last took place in 1958. Could they afford to host it?

Morocco is currently the fifth richest country in Africa, behind Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria.

At the time of writing, the FIA had just confirmed that Miami would be part of the 2022 Grand Prix line-up, accounting for that unknown 23rd spot. But the FIA could just as easily remove another race from the calendar.

From our side, we do hope it happens for South Africa. It's a beautiful country with a bad reputation, and an F1 race could significantly change perceptions.

Kyalami/Facebook
Kyalami/Facebook
Kyalami/Facebook
Source Credits: CNN

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