Formula One’s plan to hold a South African Grand Prix in 2024 has fallen through, sources have told ESPN, meaning the popular Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps should return for another year.
F1 has been exploring a return to the Kyalami circuit in recent years as part of a push to find a race on the African continent. The South African track hosted 21 F1 races between 1967 and 1993.
The event had the support of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who told ESPN in May he was pushing F1 for the event to take place as racing in Africa would be “a big dream.”
Talks with the original organisers fell through, with questions over the funding behind the project to bring the venue up to modern standards.
New promoters — Miami-based sports investment company 777 — had given the event renewed hope of appearing on the 2024 schedule, but sources have told ESPN that will not happen.
According to RacingNews365.com, the race has been abandoned because of South Africa’s alleged political alignment with Russia. F1 cancelled the Russian Grand Prix in the wake of the nation’s military invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The Belgian Grand Prix was the race which would have fallen off the schedule at the expense of the Kyalami event and currently only has a deal for the 2023 edition. It is believed Spa will get another year for 2024.
The longer term future of the Spa-Francorchamps event, considered one of the iconic venues on the F1 calendar, is unclear as it is understood to want a long-term deal to remain on the calendar.
F1 is still keen to find a race venue for Africa, which has not hosted a grand prix since 1992.
Sources: F1 won’t hold South African GP in 2024