FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem admits motorsport wants to put “more attention” on Africa as Formula 1 appears to be like to return to the continent within the close to future.
F1 has not raced in Africa since 1993, when the South Africa Grand Prix at Kyalami circuit exterior Johannesburg was dropped from the calendar.
The sport embarks on a file 24-race calendar this 12 months however Africa stays the one continent that doesn’t stage a race.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have led requires a return to South Africa and whereas that’s off the desk for 2024 – and indicators of a sudden introduction in 2025 seem distant – Ben Sulayem acknowledged the necessity to focus extra intensely on motorsport in Africa.
“We have very good contacts in Africa, more attention should be focused on Africa,” Ben Sulayem instructed German outlet Motorsport-Magazin.
“We have a good vice president in Africa, we are strengthening the clubs there.
“In South Africa, they have a lot of history in motorsport. Since last year, there has been a lot of talk about Formula 1 coming back to Kyalami. That would be a big thing for Africa. We are also thinking about an electric championship that would like to have Africa involved. That would be good too.”
F1 was seemingly shut on reaching an association with Kyalami in 2023 for a race, earlier than points arose surrounding the long-term sustainability of the occasion following a change of promoter. South Africa’s failure to sentence the actions of Vladimir Putin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has additionally contributed.
It has additionally handed a short-term lifeline to Spa-Francorchamps. The Belgian Grand Prix was anticipated to make approach for South Africa, however Spa now has a contract with F1 till 2025.
Ben Sulayem additionally spoke in depth about how motorsport’s governing physique want to strengthen ties in Africa at a grassroots stage.
“We call it ‘Motorsport in a Box’, this is a box that you get from the FIA,” he mentioned. “It contains very simply equipment such as timing and telephones. Then you can at least do speed tests.
“If we want to grow there, we can’t do it from above. I can’t give orders, the water doesn’t flow downwards here. It’s the other way around, it goes from the bottom up.
“You have to start at the bottom. That’s why we recently launched ‘Motorsport in a Box’, we’re sending it to them and we’re going to get them involved in motorsport.”
The 2024 F1 season begins in Bahrain on Saturday 2 March.