Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit

Kyalami unlikely to return to F1 calendar due to “prohibitive costs”

2018 F1 season

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Kyalami is unlikely to return to the F1 calendar due to the high cost of staging a grand prix, according to a circuit spokesperson.

The last South African Grand Prix was held at Kyalami in 1993. The track was extensively renovated after being sold to Porsche South Africa in 2014, but Christo Kruger told F1 Fanatic the venue could not meet the cost of hosting a race and a promoter would be needed to put one on.

Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit
Kyalami was renovated in 2015
“Kyalami would welcome Formula One at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit again,” said Kruger. “We think there’s a heritage that we would like to see back again. I also think the African continent deserves an actual Formula One race again.”

“But the prohibitive costs of hosting Formula One is really the bugbear. It’s just not financially feasible in the current structure to host Formula One.”

The track does not currently hold the FIA grade one licence necessary to host rounds of the world championship. However it is likely this could be achieved with minimal changes.

“Kyalami remains there as a facility and we are prepared to enter into negotiations and discussions to upgrade or to change the actual the circuit to what is palatable for Formula One racing. It’s an FIA grade two track at the moment, we will upgrade to grade one but there needs to be commitment in terms of a long-term future for Formula One in South Africa.”

“But we do not have the financial wherewithal to be the promoter for a Formula One race.”

F1 held 18 grands prix at Kyalami between 1967 and 1985, then returned for a final pair of races in 1992 and 1993.

Kruger believes local fans would support an F1 return at track. “I really don’t think you will struggle to sell tickets for a Formula One race in South Africa providing they were priced to be accessible,” he said.

A street race in Cape Town in the south-west of the country has been mooted as another potential venue for a South African Grand Prix. However Kruger is doubtful the plan would prove more cost-effective than racing at Kyalami.

“The street race in Capetown is I think a bit of a pipe dream,” he said. “I don’t think people fully understand what the asphalt surface needs to be like.”

“There’s a special asphalt that needs to be used, it’s not just pulling cars from the road and suddenly, wham, you have a race. There’s infrastructure costs that far exceed, probably, just paying a rental for Kyalami and carrying on.”

“People have the perception that you just take a Formula One car and put it onto a tar road, well you don’t, it’s a lot more complicated than that.”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Kyalami unlikely to return to F1 calendar due to “prohibitive costs””

  1. Gosh.. still remember how Senna blocked Prost and Schumacher during this incredible first 20 laps or somethin during 93 race. Seems like yesterday.

    1. one of the memorable moments for me watching the classics,

      1. Monaco 92 ignited my love of F1, but South Africa 93 is where the fire really took hold. Epic race.

  2. Though the configuration is not the same as before l, it would be nice to have one of the classic venues back on the calendar.

  3. Michael Brown (@)
    7th February 2018, 17:32

    I like the current configuration, so I wouldn’t be opposed to it coming back.

  4. Mattias Hammer
    7th February 2018, 20:33

    A true world championship should have a race in every continent. A race in Africa should be a priority.

  5. This is hilarious. There is much chance of a Grand Prix in Venezuela or Eritrea as there is in South Africa.

    1. I wonder who will be bidding for a spot in next years calender, Syria, Haiti or both?

  6. Old layot was great. This one not.

    1. It didn’t promote overtaking at all, though. The new layout is much better for that – at least it provides an opportunity.

  7. Formula 1 stopped racing in South Africa just about the time I was starting to get into it as a kid, would give my eyeteeth for a race to happen in SA again.

    Alas, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

  8. You need government support for something like this, and our government won’t ever go near that. They pulled the plug on all racing support like 10 years ago already.

    Like Toby Venter said a few years ago, the only way we’ll ever host a grand prix again, is if we strike oil off the coast.

    1. And that is one of the big issues that F1 has going forward. The pyramid scheme devised by Bernie has created a totally unsustainable sport. F1 races do not generate any income for the tracks which is a major issue. Basically F1 is relying on government handouts in order to be functional!

      To be sustainable for the future everyone involved in F1 should benefit financially. The teams, the tracks and the F1 owners should all be able to share in the success.

  9. I have been fortunate to race twice with my 911 courtacy of Porcshe for their clients’ events, the revamped track is exhilarating.

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