Lights out and away we go!
Hold up, slow down – we aren’t quite there yet.
Kyalami Circuit owner Toby Venter, who bought the track in 2014 for R205 million, remains confident we can get a South African Formula One Grand Prix in the not-too-distant future, but there are a few boxes to tick.
The circuit will need to get FIA Grade 1 certification before F1 can return to our shores. The visit of F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali this week shows the desire is there from the sport’s governing body to make that happen, either in 2023 or 2024.
Details of exactly what was said during Domenicali’s visit are being kept out of the public eye. Venter has spoken with Sport24 on a few key matters, starting with getting the track F1 status:
“We’ve been through this exercise [requirements for getting Grade 1 certification] and received a comprehensive list of requested changes, and it boils down to [a few] things,” Venter confirmed to Sport24.
…tech-pro barriers need to be installed at certain corners around the track, the sausage curbs must be modified and adjusted to make it F1 friendly, and the gravel in some run-off areas must be replaced with tar. The venue must also be upgraded to accommodate the expected weekend attendees.
90 000 visitors would be expected throughout the course of an F1 weekend, Warren Scheckter, founder and CEO of the South African Grand Prix Association, said.
The above changes wouldn’t come cheap. However, it’s worth noting that the track itself is up to scratch:
“Stefano Domenicali actually loves the track,” Venter adds. “I took him around the track myself, and he is very excited and enthusiastic about the track layout as it stands.”
Speculation over ticket prices has been rife and some estimates from industry insiders say a weekend pass could cost in excess of R5 000.
Yes, I am aware that’s far cheaper than the price of a return flight overseas and a ticket. It’s also more than many South Africans would be able to afford, which is something that is being taken into consideration.
Scheckter, speaking with Double Apex, said organisers don’t want locals to be excluded:
“…therefore tickets will be discounted for South Africans. There will be an allocation set aside that you can only access as a South African resident.”
When pushed about the cost of these tickets, Scheckter wasn’t ready to spill the beans, but he did conclude by saying: “The tickets will be well within the reach of your average F1 fan.”
Good to know.
South African-based motoring outlet Motor Magnet has engaged in a little guesswork and converted the average price to rands:
— Motor Magnet (@Motor_Magnet) June 14, 2022
Again, that is guesswork.
Adrian Scholtz, Chief Executive Officer at Motorsport South Africa (MSA), has stated that “an announcement can be expected if and when the negotiations are successfully concluded, and the relevant agreements are put in place”.
Until then, we wait on the starting grid.
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