Kyalami missed out in 2023 due to "greed"


1979 world champion, Jody Scheckter says F1's failure to return to South Africa this year is down to greed on the part of Kyalami organisers.

Almost from the day Liberty Media took control of F1 in 2017, it has made no secret of its desire to return to South Africa, a move fully supported by seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton.

Last summer it finally looked as though it was going to happen, with F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali travelling to South Africa following the Azerbaijan race for discussions aimed at closing a deal.

Speaking in 2021, F1's global director of race promotion admitted that taking F1 back to Africa was a "priority" for the sport.

"Africa is a continent that we don't race in, and that is just wrong," said Chloe Targett-Adams in a Blackbook online seminar. "It's somewhere that we very much want, it's the priority. We've been in talks with possible options for a few years.

"We're hoping that ultimately, we will be able to achieve a race there in the kind of near to mid-term," she added.

Speaking in 2020, when asked where he would most like F1 to race, Hamilton was in no doubt. "Easy," he replied, "Africa. It's such an important place to go back to.

"At the moment Formula 1 goes to countries and doesn't really leave much behind if anything," he added. "Formula 1 has to shift into being a sport that does go to places and leaves behind something that can really help the communities and I think firstly bringing the attention back to Africa and highlighting the beautiful place it is, I think that's the most important place that we have to go to.

"It needs to be held where it's not all about money," he said, "it's about people, and in business that's not always the case, so that's something I'm pushing for."

The most likely venue, as far as South Africa is concerned, was Kyalami, which, since its construction in 1961, has hosted the country's Grand Prix on twenty occasions, though since the 1993 event it has been completely rebuilt and the surrounding area developed.

Following the release of the race schedule for 2023, many were disappointed to see that South Africa hadn't made the final cut despite the widespread speculation that a deal had been close to being agreed.

"We need to make sure when we do something new, that it has to be with the right partners and be stable fundamentals to stay longer," Domenicali told Sky Sports at the time. "It would be wrong to go there one year and then disappear if the conditions aren't done properly. It's a matter of having the right financial assets, but also having the site ready for the weekend that we want to host in that place.

"The only thing that I can say that after the first contact with Kyalami is that there are other places in Africa that are interested on Formula One," he added. "That's a very clear target. Africa will come back and hopefully very soon on our calendar."

Scheckter has now shed light on Domenicali's cryptic reference to Kyalami.

"I was an inside part of it," he tells Total, "my nephew worked on it for six years.

"It was that close," he adds. "The guy from Kyalami went from 500,000 to 2 million, and he wanted to take the whole thing over.

"F1 came over to sign. He had got government backing, some of the wealthiest people in South Africa behind it. Everything was in place, and the guy from Kyalami got greedy.

"As soon as F1 left, he changed the whole thing completely. The government realised there was a fight and withdrew, and that was the end.

"My nephew had been working on it for six years, nearly full-time. Because going through the government and getting its support and for them all to agree to put some budget in and then to secure the money. It takes a massive amount of effort. Then, all of a sudden, it was over, and he was left with nothing."

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 14/03/2023
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.