While Formula 1 has made concrete efforts to bring about the return of the South African Grand Prix, it seemingly will not be happening in the next 18 months.
The Formula 1 calendar has continued to expand over recent seasons, with the F1 2023 campaign originally scheduled to consist of a record 24 rounds, the maximum number possible according to CEO and president Stefano Domenicali.
The 2023 calendar is now down to 22 grands prix, with China’s planned return having been shelved, while the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled due to severe flooding in the region.
But while the likes of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Miami and Las Vegas have been among the recent additions to the schedule, Formula 1 holds the ambition to return to the African content by going racing again at Kyalami, having last done so for the 1993 South African Grand Prix.
However, Motorsport.com report that following talks for the return of the South African GP for 2023 considering the cancellations, while a slot for 2024 had then been in mind, now both prospects appear to be off the table.
Their report states that 2025 will now be the earliest potential date for the South African GP’s comeback, with F1 bosses keen to ensure that a sustainable plan is in place to go racing in the nation once more.
South Africa’s 1979 World Champion Jody Scheckter recently offered insight into the apparent breakdown in talks for the return of the South African GP, claiming “greed” thwarted the efforts.
“I was an inside part of it, my nephew [Warren Scheckter] worked on it for six years,” he told Total Motorsport about the negotiations.
“It was that close. The guy from Kyalami went from 500,000 to 2 million, and he wanted to take the whole thing over.
“F1 came over to sign. He had got government backing, some of the wealthiest people in South Africa behind it. Everything was in place, and the guy from Kyalami got greedy.
“Just as soon as F1 left, he changed the whole thing completely. The government realised there was a fight and withdrew, and that was the end.
“Maybe it’ll happen back here again. I don’t know.”
Alain Prost is the most recent winner of the South African GP after his 1993 success with Williams, and it remains to be seen how long the wait will go on to crown the next winner.
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