LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) – Method One boss Stefano Domenicali arrived in South Africa on Monday for talks that would see the nation’s Kyalami circuit return to the grand prix calendar subsequent yr for the primary time since 1993.
A Method One spokesman confirmed Domenicali flew to South Africa after Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.
The previous Ferrari group boss, who took over on the helm of Method One final yr, will meet representatives of the circuit north of Johannesburg with the game eager to do a deal.
Africa is the one continent apart from Antarctica and not using a Method One race and Domenicali, who represents industrial rights holders Liberty Media, has spoken of his want to rectify that.
Chloe Targett-Adams, Method One’s international director of race promotion, advised a CSM-hosted webinar final week that Africa was a giant strategic goal.
“It’s the solely continent we’re not in, it’s an unbelievable demographic in inhabitants and one which we’re very eager to deliver extra into the Method One world,” she stated. “In order that’s very a lot in our sights.”
Learn extra: NFL-League to carry first official occasions in Africa, together with expertise camp
South Africa was an everyday spherical of the championship till 1985, when some groups and sponsors boycotted the race because of the nation’s apartheid system of racial segregation.
The game returned to Kyalami in 1992 and 1993 after apartheid had ended and Nelson Mandela, later to change into the nation’s first Black head of state, was launched from jail.
Mercedes’ seven occasions world champion Lewis Hamilton, the game’s solely Black driver, has additionally pushed for the return of an African race along with his father Anthony concerned at one level in a Cape City challenge.
Financing a race deal has at all times been the last word stumbling block, nonetheless.
Discuss has intensified not too long ago of Kyalami returning on what can be a document calendar of 24 races subsequent season, if China’s race in Shanghai can be re-instated after an absence as a consequence of COVID-19.
Method One has already introduced a brand new race in Las Vegas for 2023, becoming a member of U.S. rounds in Miami and Austin, whereas Qatar begins a brand new 10-year cycle after dropping off this yr’s calendar because of the soccer World Cup.
Some European races, notably France’s spherical at Le Castellet, might miss out. A provisional calendar might be revealed by the August break.