FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem recently shed light on the prospects of a South African Grand Prix in Formula 1, highlighting the continent’s rich motorsport heritage and future potential. His remarks have sparked excitement about F1’s expansion in Africa, particularly with the Kyalami Circuit as a focal point.
- Potential of South Africa for F1: South Africa, with its Kyalami Circuit, is a strong candidate for hosting a Formula 1 race, reflecting the country’s deep-rooted motorsport history. Ben Sulayem’s comments acknowledge ongoing discussions to reintegrate the circuit into F1’s future lineup.
- Grassroots Development in Africa: The FIA’s commitment to nurturing motorsport in Africa includes the innovative ‘Motorsport in a Box’ program, aimed at equipping local clubs with essential tools to kickstart motorsport activities at the grassroots level.
- Electric Motorsport Initiatives: Ben Sulayem also reveals plans for an electric racing championship in Africa, emphasizing the FIA’s dedication to sustainable and forward-looking motorsport formats in the continent.
The recent discourse surrounding Formula 1’s expansion into Africa has been heightened by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s engaging interview with Motorsport-Magazin.com. The discussion primarily revolved around the Kyalami Circuit in South Africa, a historically significant venue, and its potential inclusion in future F1 seasons, though it’s notably absent from the 2024 calendar.
Ben Sulayem’s remarks not only underscore the historical significance of South Africa in the world of motorsport but also hint at the ongoing talks about F1’s return to the Kyalami Circuit. He expressed, “In South Africa, they have a lot of history in motorsport. Since last year, there has been a lot of talk about Formula 1 returning to Kyalami. That would be something great for Africa.”
The FIA President’s vision for motorsport in Africa extends beyond the elite racing circuits. He emphasized the importance of grassroots development through the ‘Motorsport in a Box’ initiative. This program is a practical approach to nurturing local talent, providing basic yet essential equipment to start motorsport activities. Ben Sulayem elaborated, “We are strengthening the local clubs there. In some regions, we start at the grassroots, we call it ‘Motorsport in a Box’. This is a box you get from the FIA. It has very simple equipment in it, like timing and phones. At least then you can do speed tests.”
Alongside the development of traditional motorsport, the FIA is also exploring innovative avenues, particularly the establishment of an electric championship in Africa. This initiative aligns with global trends towards sustainable and environmentally friendly racing formats. Ben Sulayem’s focus on such forward-thinking projects underscores his commitment to evolving the sport in tune with modern demands.
While the FIA President remains cautiously optimistic about F1’s future in Africa, his enthusiasm for the continent’s potential in the global motorsport landscape is palpable. His efforts in promoting motorsport at various levels, from grassroots to elite racing, and his openness to embracing new technologies like electric racing, signal a bright and dynamic future for motorsport in Africa.