A 2023 South African Grand Prix fell through because the Formula 1 appointed local promotor failed according to Anton Roux, the chairman of Motorsport SA.
But he added he’s confident the race will appear on the calendar for 2024, after a 24-race calendar was confirmed for 2023 including the new Las Vegas Grand Prix and a return to Qatar.
“The reason the F1 event is not taking place in 2023 is that the F1-appointed local promoter was unable to deliver on the financial guarantees,” Roux told South African outlet News24.com.
“The whole issue here is not a fault of the FIA, F1, MSA, or government’s side.
“It was purely because the local promoter could not deliver, and we now need to replace the local promoter. But I am very confident that we’ll be on the 2024 calendar.”
Scheckter in the firing line
The promotor blamed by Roux is the SA Grand Prix Association, headed by Warren Scheckter – the nephew of 1979 World Champion Jody Scheckter.
However, the country’s government has also been criticised by others for showing little interest in the race.
“The Department does not have access to information on how long it is anticipated it would take to upgrade the Kyalami circuit to F1 status,” they said in a statement.
“This is because the Department has not received any application Bid for F1 as prescribed by the Bidding and Hosting of International Sport and Recreational Events Regulations.”
Kyalami is currently a Grade II circuit and would need to be upgraded to make Grade I and be eligible to host an F1 race.
Among the modifications are upgrades to spectator facilities and the installation of tech-pro barriers and tarmac runoff areas, these would need to be met alongside the hosting fees demanded by F1.
“We need to create more sporting heroes for our children to follow, and I think that will be the big benefit to South African motorsport,” Roux continued.
“The guys must see a Hamilton or a Max Verstappen so that they can relate to it. We need to create aspiration.”
Lewis Hamilton has long been advocating for a Grand Prix in Africa, the second-most populated continent in the world.
In 2021 Formula E was the only world championship to compete on all six habitable continents, though that wasn’t the case in 2022 as they missed a South American E-Prix.