None other than the great legend of the sport Alain Prost scored a grand slam here, including the pole position, taking the race win and also setting the fastest lap of the race. Who can, after all, forget the 1993 race here?
Jim Clark, the icon of the sport, scored no fewer than four race wins here. Lotus emerged as the most successful Constructor in the past at this contest.
And is that all? Well, not really; the unforgettable Ayrton Senna scored a highly challenging and hard fought podium three decades back in the day.
Moreover, it was here that the United Kingdom’s Mark Blundell scored one of the three career podiums that he ever registered in Formula 1.
There’s so much that has happened at the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami. There’s still so much that was expected to happen at Kyalami in the course of the sport’s future.
For instance, one had been desperately waiting for, figuratively speaking, a classic Max Verstappen versus Lewis Hamilton contest here at the beating heart of all racing destinations in South Africa: Kyalami.
One surely would’ve liked to see someone from Ferrari triumph at the South African Grand Prix. With Carlos Sainz’s growing popularity, it would’ve been just the kind of thing that the racing aficionados would’ve loved.
And to some, it would have been yet more better if Leclerc would’ve bagged a race win here, and even lovelier should it, for instance, have been ahead of the two roaring greats of the grid- Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Who knows, someone like Fernando Alonso, who’s got massive experience of having raced at both old school as well as brand new racing venues would’ve relished the challenge of going all guns blazing at Kyalami.
But well, after several months of endless talks and recurring chatter about actually getting back to racing at Kyalami, it doesn’t really appear as though there would be a South African Grand Prix on the F1 calendar.
Though, truth be told, it wasn’t really that long ago that the new promoters, i.e., the Miami-based Sports investment firm 777-had reignited hopes of having a Formula 1 Grand Prix in South Africa. That’s as far as the 2024 F1 schedule was concerned.
But where it stands at the moment, it doesn’t seem very likely that Formula 1 would in any likelihood get back to racing in South Africa.
And what stands at the heart of a decision that’s about as drastic as it is heartbreaking is not the fault of the organizers of the sport at all; it’s not the F1 community.
Primarily, it is believed that some political reasons that are in absolute polarisation of F1’s philosophy of an all-encompassing, accommodating and global sport prove to be the hindrance.
So what is it about, after all?
It is believed- though full confirmations are yet to strike news platforms- that owing to South Africa’s political alignment with Russia, that is currently at war with Ukraine prove to be the damaging factor towards hosting a Grand Prix in South Africa.
You cannot possibly hold a Formula 1 Grand Prix in a country that is fine with the hostility shown by one of its close allies towards a neighbouring nation.
Moreover, we have seen in the past how the Russian Grand Prix, which was one of the most successful events in mainland Europe, got cancelled when Russia purposely attacked Ukraine thus leaving much of the world embittered about a course of action that should certainly have been avoided.
And now with the close sources connected to the sport suggesting that yet another promising Formula 1 Grand prix venue that has enthralled audiences in the past stands to get cancelled, one can’t help but feel about the way things are moving in our wider world.
We are, after all, not free from a world where political actions and geopolitical crises do not hamper the way sporting events are held.
And what’s interesting is that even as the South African GP is now next to impossible to be brought back onto the F1 calendar, the sport’s search to discover a new racing destination in Africa is still not over.
Maybe in the days to follow, we shall hear about what the likes of Mr. Domenicali and his team are upto where exploring yet newer territories for F1 stand!