Report: F1 drops plans to return to South Africa

Recent political alignment with Russia has cooled discussions.
  • South Africa’s political ties to Russia have tanked talks
  • Likely to mean a reprieve for the Belgian GP

Formula One has abandoned its plans to return to South Africa at Kyalami, according to

It emerged last year that talks between Formula One and circuit organisers reached an impasse, something that led to the one-year extension of the Belgian Grand Prix.

At the time, Formula One chairman and chief executive Stefano Domenicali stepped away from talks as he wanted to be certain that the commercial package around the Africa race is sustainable. There was also said to be a lack of confidence in the local promoter in South Africa, but efforts to find a new one have proven unsuccessful. reports that Miami-based 777, a sports investment company, led by Adam Brown, which also promotes the Kyalami 9 Hour race, had rekindled hope of the race going ahead. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has also been a vocal supporter of a return to Africa.

However, it is rumoured that the reasons for talks being dropped with South Africa are no longer financial in nature, with suggesting that the country’s decision to align closely with Russia has led to Formula One backing out.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Formula One terminated its UK£40 million (US$53 million) contract with race organisers at the Sochi Circuit.

As a result of talks being dropped entirely, the iconic corners of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps are likely to stay on the Formula One calendar for another year.

BlackBook says…

South Africa’s recent political decisions appear to have killed the prospect of a Formula One return for now.

Previous claims of impartiality have been undermined by a repeated refusal to condemn Vladimir Putin’s actions by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and the country’s decision to host the Russian navy for exercises on the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

By chance, it now appears that the Belgian Grand Prix is safe for another year, but its long-term future can’t be tied to being granted reprieves by the political faux pas of other countries.

However, with Domenicali previously confirming that races in London and East Asia are on the cards, and rumours that Saudi Arabia is preparing to host a second Grand Prix, there are still plenty of potential replacements.