Formula 1 is currently working with the aim of taking the sport to all corners of the world and in its quest to do so a delegation from the FIA/F1 will visit the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in South Africa this week.
Talks between Kyalami administration and the FIA have been ongoing for some time and the delegation traveling to South Africa consists of F1 Sporting Director Steve Nielsen, Craig Wilson, F1 Head of Vehicle Performance and Richard Springett, F1 Chief Engineer – Circuitry .
The FIA’s Head of Circuit and Rally Security, Stuart Robertson, will today review Kyalami’s eligibility for a Class 1 (Formula 1) license as the circuit currently meets Class 2 standards and it is currently widely believed that the circuit this requires a huge upgrade to reach the level at which Formula 1 operates.
The circuit requires 50,000 meters of run-off area to be resurfaced, which is currently gravel, and some of the corners need to be re-profiled. In addition, access to the team garage area is severely restricted. The medical helicopter is very close to the team garages and according to the FIA must be taken to a place where it is not in the sight of the media and fans.
The area behind the team garages is too small for team entertaining and any track issues can be fixed but require a reasonable investment.
A source recently revealed that the circuit upgrades will cost. Between four and six million dollars, depending on exactly what needs to be done. But the problem is the time: It’s almost August now and they’re targeting an April date.”
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The race on the Kyalami Circuit is overshadowed by many uncertainties
The track requires a fair number of upgrades and at the moment nobody is sure who will pay. Kyalami owner Toby Venter has stressed many times that he is willing to lease the circuit to a promoter willing to host F1 racing, but not at any price.
It has not yet been decided who will bear the costs, as the race track is fully booked all year round. To host an F1 event, the circuit would need to be closed for a significant amount of time, meaning the venue would lose a lot of business. The South African government has also refused to be directly involved in the event.
SA stakeholders are concerned as no agreements have been reached yet and the SA Motorsport chairman recently told the media that “While all parties are there [verbal] agreement and are pushing hard for an agreement, but no legally binding agreements have been signed yet. We hope to finalize the matter within weeks and make a follow-up announcement.”
Given the shenanigans surrounding hosting a race at the Kyalami Circuit, one has to wonder if those involved could agree on all the things and where the money would come from to upgrade the track to Formula 1-level facilities.
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