The circuit was renovated in 2014, bringing it closer to the standard required to host an F1 race and raising speculation it might be targeting a return to the calendar. However, circuit chiefs do not believe such a return is possible at this stage.
“Kyalami would welcome Formula One at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit again,” circuit spokesperson Christo Kruger told F1 Fanatic. “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.”
Kyalami chiefs are willing to make the changes needed to meet the FIA’s requirements around hosting a race but want to see Liberty Media’s commitment to a race on the African continent first.
“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.”
Since taking over F1 at the start of 2017, Liberty Media’s new management structure for F1 have made little secret of the desire to return to races with F1 heritage as it looks at ways of expanding the calendar.
In previous years a street race in Cape Town was mooted as another option for a South African race, but Kruger believes this is a “pipe dream” as it would be far more expensive than hosting a grand prix at Kyalami, which he say is the only feasible option in the country