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Formula 1 Close to Ending 30-Year Absence in South Africa

  • Formula 1 is close to bringing a Grand Prix race to South Africa.
  • Other F1 mainstays may be bumped from the calendar next year.
Kyalami GP Circuit

After a 30-year hiatus, Formula 1 may be returning to Africa soon.

The global racing series is on the cusp of adding a race at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Midrand, South Africa

  • F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali flew to South Africa following Sunday’s race in Baku, Azerbaijan, to continue negotiations.
  • Kyalami would most likely join the calendar in 2024, but 2023 remains a possibility. 
  • F1 raced at Kyalami from 1967 to 1985, then again in 1992 and 1993.

F1 is already slated to add races in Las Vegas, Qatar, and Shanghai next year, meaning at least two Grands Prix would have to drop off the calendar to stay within the contractual limit of 24.

The races in France, Belgium, and Mexico are all in their final year under contract, with the French Grand Prix seemingly the most likely to fall off the calendar, regardless of whether South Africa joins the schedule.

A rotating schedule has been proposed to allow all the current European race sites to host Grands Prix in some years.

Global Growth

F1’s 2021 season brought in 445 million unique viewers, up 3% from 2020. China was the top country, with 70.8 million fans watching at least one race, up 13% year-over-year. Spain’s audience saw massive year-over-year growth of 272%, as did Russia (129%) and the U.S. (53%).

Formula 1 brought in $360 million in first-quarter revenue, exactly doubling its haul from Q1 2021.

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