• World - Africa
  • Updated: June 06, 2023

South Africa Fails Bid To Host F1 Over Friendship With Russia

South Africa Fails Bid To Host F1 Over Friendship With Russi

An ongoing F1 race.

South Africa has reportedly lost its bid to host a Formula One race shortly, supposedly due to its political alignment with Russia.

Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, recently expressed his desire to compete in South Africa, which gave fuel to plans to bring the Kyalami track back into F1 for the first time in 30 years.

The only continent not represented on the F1 calendar is Africa.

It was reported late last year that South Africa was said to have lost the right to hold a race in 2023 when negotiations between Formula One and organiser Warren Scheckter fell over financial issues in late 2017. 

The focus turned to holding the South African Grand Prix in 2024, with Miami-based sports investment firm 777 taking over the event's marketing.

But according to racingnews365, a political decision has been made to scrap preparations for a South African Grand Prix shortly.

“According to sources, the decision was taken because South Africa has aligned closely with Russia,” said racingnews365.

“F1 would not comment on the rumours, but the decision will likely provide Spa-Francorchamps a reprieve and see the Belgian Grand Prix remain on the calendar for at least another year.”

South Africa, a member of the BRICS organization of developing nations that also includes Brazil, China, India, and Russia, has not condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

When it hosts the BRICS meeting in August, it will also confront a diplomatic conundrum since the government is anticipated to provide diplomatic protection to Russian President Vladimir Putin even though he is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

A Kyalami representative declined to comment on the matter. 

South Africa last hosted an F1 race at Kyalami in 1993, won by Alain Prost in a Williams-Renault.

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