Warren Scheckter, the CEO of a group hoping to bring a Grand Prix back to Kyalami in South Africa, has said that 2023 is the “more likely” time for the race’s return.
Speaking to RaceFans, the nephew of 1979 F1 world champion Jody Scheckter said that 2022 remained the target for SAGP, the company he heads up, but conceded 2023 might be more realistic.
F1 last raced in South Africa in 1993, before the high costs associated with running the race became prohibitive.
However, there has been a push bring the race back since the Kyalami circuit was renovated in 2015, while Lewis Hamilton stated last year that the sport should include an African race on the calendar.
“The target date is still 2022 but that could shift due to the effects of the pandemic, so 2023 is maybe more likely,” Scheckter told RaceFans.
“It’s great that Lewis, a person as high-profile and influential as himself, has indicated his support for an African Grand Prix,” he added. “Obviously South Africa is the most likely place for that to happen being that it’s a country that has a huge history in Formula 1.
“It had its own Formula 1 racing series back in the seventies, had a Formula 1 world champion itself and as a country it has quite a big following.
“Most importantly it has a race track that’s really ready to go, that’s very close to being F1-standard. If there were to be an African Grand Prix, South Africa and Kyalami is the most logical place that it would happen.
“It’s great that Lewis is showing his support for an African Grand Prix. An African Grand Prix is going to be a huge boost for bringing diversity to the sport at all levels.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has also confirmed the sport’s interest in returning to Africa and claimed it was “important” to race in places with a “great heritage in Formula 1”.