Kyalami Formula 1 race calendar South Africa

Kyalami hasn’t hosted an F1 race for almost 30 years – Photo: AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Kyalami will be hosting the next South African Grand Prix

Kyalami is the only realistic option for the return of the South African Grand Prix to the Formula One World Championship in the near future.

Kyalami Formula 1 race calendar South Africa

Kyalami hasn’t hosted an F1 race for almost 30 years – Photo: AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

The famous Kyalami circuit near Johannesburg was the last venue to host a South African Grand Prix in Formula 1 and is the place the championship is most likely to return when it reappears on the calendar.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has earmarked South Africa as a potential new host for a Grand Prix, in a bid to further expand motorsport’s elite competition schedule.

With the F1 bigwigs recently in town and intent on sealing the deal we look at why they will turn to Kyalami to host the returning Grand Prix.

Kyalami in pole position to host South African Grand Prix

Kyalami last hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1993, but the sport’s CEO Domenicali has repeatedly expressed his desire to secure a return to the African continent. The South African

Multiple rounds of discussions have been held between the sport’s bosses and SAGP, the company championing the return of F1 to Kyalami, who in turn have held discussions with the government over potential support for the initiative.

Lewis Hamilton Kyalami
Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has endorsed a South African Grand Prix Photo: Twitter @F1District

“After forming SAGP, we looked at possible venues for staging a Grand Prix, including Cape Town, Durban in KZN, and others. We soon realised the only venue that made sense was Kyalami, not just because of the historical significance of the track, but almost everything we need to host a Grand Prix is already in place,” SAGP CEO Warren Scheckter told Car Magazine.

“Since then, we orchestrated visits to the track from top F1 officials; most notably Chase Carey, who was CEO of F1 after taking over from Bernie Ecclestone in 2017. Delegates from the FIA also visited the track. During these vis‐its, SAGP facilitated meetings between F1 and many top South African government officials.”

The return of Formula one to Kyalami is a no-brainer. While the circuit needs substantial upgrades in order to adhere to the modern standards and circuit rules, that cost is still likely to be lower than that of staging a street race in either Cape Town or Durban.

While Formula 1 fans might be happy to see the circuit come to their city, the general public’s enthusiasm might dwindle after a couple of days of blocked streets and deafening din. Modern F1 cars may be hybrids but they aren’t exactly inconspicuous. 

Cape Town will stage a Formula E street circuit race, but those cars are whisper quiet.

Kyalami is relatively close to Johannesburg, but out of the way enough to ensure that the neighbours won’t call the JMPD on Domenicalli and company, and the milling crowds won’t cause City officials any great headaches.

When Formula 1 returns to South Africa you can bet it will be at Kyalami.