Why Formula One Should Bring Back the South African GP

Why Formula One Should Bring Back the South African GP

Photo Credit: Kyalami

In its age of expansion, F1’s return to Africa would be a welcome sight

Vincent Raitt, Contributor 

Formula One has seen a massive surge in popularity and interest due, in part, to the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive. As a result, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body of the sport, has been adding more and more races to the calendar. The first Miami Grand Prix was held in 2022, and in 2023 Las Vegas made its triumphant return after nearly forty years off the calendar. In this age of expansion, the FIA would be remiss not to bring back the iconic South African Grand Prix. 

The South African Grand Prix is one of the oldest Grand Prix races, originally held on the streets of East London, South Africa. In 1967, it was moved to its most iconic location, the Kyalami Circuit in Johannesburg. It was held there until the mid-80s when Formula One left the country over the government policy of apartheid.  

After so many years away, it’s time for the FIA to return to South Africa. In fact, updating the Kyalami Circuit to modern circuits would be an easy task. To be suitable for Formula One racing, the circuit would have to be of Grade One. Kyalami is currently a Grade Two circuit. The process to upgrade it would be significantly less time-consuming and less expensive than the creation of a whole new circuit. It is also a tried-and-true layout: we know from previous experience that the races it hosts would be engaging and interesting to watch. Additionally, bringing back the South African Grand Prix would be a great way to make Formula One a truly global sport. Currently, Africa is the only permanently inhabited continent to not have a Grand Prix. With the return of the South Africa Grand Prix, Formula One pilots could finally, truly, race around the world.