Formula 1 hasn't held a race in Africa since 1993, the last year of the South African grand prix at Kyalami Circuit. However, Red Bull driver, and two-time F1 world champion, Max Verstappen feels that a return to Africa needs to happen.
The Drive recently attended roundtable discussion with Verstappen, during the unveiling of Red Bull's car for the 2023 F1 season. During the discussion, Verstappen expressed his desire for F1 to once again race in Africa.
“I think we still need a race in Africa. We are basically on every other continent, so I do think that that’s the next step for Formula 1. We have history there because of South Africa, for example. It would be a great addition,” he said.
This isn't the first time Verstappen has talked about F1 returning to Africa, as he previously mentioned it in an interview with LADbible last year. He also isn't the only driver that wants an African race added to the F1 calendar. Last year, Mercedes driver, and seven-time F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton said he wanted South Africa back on the calendar for the 2023 season.
Unfortunately, an African grand prix wasn't added to the 2023 schedule, though it might be coming in 2024. During an interview with Sky Sports, F1 president Stefano Domenicali said that Kyalami was being considered for the 2023 season but ultimately didn't work out. However, he did say that an African grand prix could happen soon.
"That's a very clear target: Africa will come back and hopefully very soon on our calendar." Domenicali told Sky Sports.
It's possible that Kyalami is back on the F1 calendar for the 2024 season but it isn't the only potential African grand prix. According to Domenicali, other African races are being considered but whichever circuit is chosen, it needs to host a recurring race and can't just be for a single year.
South Africa has a long history with motorsport, as its first-ever grand prix was held in 1934 on a road course known as Prince George Circuit. The first post-war race held at Prince George Circuit was in 1962 and F1 races continued there until 1966. For 1967, Kyalami Circuit became the home of the South African grand prix, which lasted until 1985. F1 returned to Kyalami for the '92 and '93 seasons but hasn't been back since.
Verstappen and Hamilton are right, it would be great to see F1 return to Africa, whether it's at Kyalami or elsewhere, and hopefully it happens as soon as 2024.
Got tips? Send 'em to [email protected]