Current COVID rules no help for African F1 GP return

Jul.7 – South Africa’s Formula 1 aspirations have hit a snag in the shape of ongoing covid restrictions.

In recent days, the likelihood that former grand prix venue Kyalami will return to the annual calendar has grown – especially after F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s visit in June.

“For sure that’s another area that so far is missing in the geography of our calendar,” said the Italian.

But Anton Roux, chairman of Motorsport South Africa, says a spanner in the works of any concrete deal with Formula 1 are ongoing measures to control covid-19.

For instance, venue capacities remain capped at 50 percent.

“If you look at Texas, they had 380,000 spectators,” he told Channel Africa eNCA.

“I think that’s more than the Olympic Games and 60 percent of those spectators were foreigners. I don’t necessarily think we’re going to attract that many spectators, but we could have between 250,000 and 300,000.

“South Africa is a long distance to travel so the influx of tourists will be important. And I think the covid restrictions are a big challenge.

“To only be able to accommodate 50 percent of the spectators could put the whole event at risk,” Roux admitted.

“We had an international event earlier this year where 2,000 spectators were allowed but we had 1,800 employees on the circuit,” he added. “What I mean is that it just doesn’t make sense if you can’t reach your full capacity.”

Nonetheless, Roux said Kyalami is currently working on upgrades so that the circuit is up to the FIA’s standards for Formula 1.

He added that if the event cannot happen in 2023, he is “certain” it will be in 2024.

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