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Why F1’s Got to Bring The South African Grand Prix Back To Where It Belongs?

Why F1’s Got to Bring The South African Grand Prix Back To Where It Belongs?

South African Grand Prix

Can we expect the South African Grand Prix to return to the calendar anytime soon? This has been the question in the wondrous winters, this also appears a subject of one’s intrigue in hot and humid June.

Never mind the pun.

But what can be funnier than avoiding relevant questions whether the South African Grand Prix can return to the stable anytime soon over and above something as stupid as Valtteri Bottas being called “Wingman” to Lewis or Kimi’s avatar from the Game of Thrones?

Surely, while there’s never any harm in a laugh, plus it comes absolutely free of cost,

A track nestled in history, having hosted stalwarts of the class of Mansell, Prost, and the redoubtable Ayrton Senna, it remains to be seen whether Kyalami can return anytime soon on the roster.

Ever since it was last held in 1994, the year of triple world champion Ayrton Senna‘s passing, there’s been no news or signs of the racing track returning to F1.

This, it must be said, is a legendary track from the point of view of both- the challenges it imposes on the drivers and a slice of history it eventually will become unless one were to put the world’s fastest men to where they belong: in midst of a feisty cat-and-mouse on a track plagued with 15 corners.

The Kyalami at Midrand, Gauteng happens to be the venue of the last-ever South African Grand Prix held in a country so steeped in unity and diversity.

It’s as if someone’s drawn curtains to a course of history that may often call from behind the curtain. Sounds a bit legit and a bit creepy?

To that end, it must be reminded that while Kyalami was built in 1961, the first-ever South African Grand Prix was held in 1934.

The race was hampered by the Second World War. Today, as F1 draws closer to Round Six at Monaco, a track that opened 5 years prior to Kyalami, etched in the home of the Protea Fire, the wind breathes uncontrollably to sing songs of a time long gone by.

South African Grand Prix
Credits: ESPN

It was back in 1985 where the South African Grand Prix saw perhaps its most controversial run. Nigel Mansell won from “The Professor” Alain Prost in a valiantly fought contest with the headlines focused on the Apartheid controversy. A distinguished piece on the sport’s widely-debated and much-followed race puts it eloquently:

“Ligier and Renault both refused to race, in line with the French government’s increasing hardline stance against the South African regime, while a number of leading drivers were caught up in political struggles as to their participation. The Swedish government unsuccessfully tried to ban Stefan Johansson from traveling, while the Brazilian authorities leaned heavily on Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. Most drivers said that while personally very against what was happening in the country, they would follow team orders. Philippe Streiff, signed to Ligier, was loaned to Tyrrell for the weekend.”

Much of F1’s current discussion concerns itself with Mercedes’ 1-2 and whether Ferrari or anyone, for that matter can close the gap to the front. From the onset of the 2014 F1 season, Mercedes have quite literally hammered everyone on the grid and guess what, there’s no surprise as to why they’re calling this period “Hammertime!”

But one wonders if newer destinations – yeah, thank god for Vietnam- and a re-introduction of old tracks can further spice up things?

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