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F1 abandons South Africa GP plans, Belgium set to stay

Political barriers have halted plans to return to Africa as part of F1's ever-increasing world tour.

Attempts to revive the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami have been abandoned, RacingNews365.com has learned.

A return to Kyalami for the first time since 1993 has been heavily mooted in recent years, with Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei prematurely declaring a race on the African continent for the current season.

But original talks between F1 and then-promoter Warren Scheckter broke down over the financial details involved in the deal.

A new promoter, by way of 777 - a sports investment company based in Miami which is best known for its business ventures in soccer - and led by Adam Brown, who also promotes the Kyalami 9 Hour race, had rekindled hope of adding South Africa to the calendar.

The events hopes were boosted by the backing of seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton and his push for F1 to return to Africa.

RacingNews365.com, however, understands a decision has been made to abandon plans for a South African GP in the near future due to political reasons.

According to sources, the decision was taken because South Africa has aligned closely with Russia.

F1 would not comment on the rumours, but the decision will likely provide Spa-Francorchamps a reprieve and see the Belgian Grand Prix remain on the calendar for at least another year.

The issue for F1's hierarchy stems from South Africa's close political relationship with Russia.

F1 was forced to ditch the Russian Grand Prix swiftly after the invasion and subsequent ongoing war against Ukraine last year, whilst the FIA put a blanket ban on Russian and Belarussians participating without signing up to a neutrality agreement.

South Africa's governance and its alignment with President Putin's regime have proven to be an unexpected roadblock despite terms close to being finalised between 777 and F1.

It is understood a venue hire had been agreed upon - pending a formal signature which ultimately was not forthcoming - with Kyalami renting out its facilities to 777, which would then promote the race.

But South Africa, part of the BRICS association of emerging economies with Russia, Brazil, China and India, has failed to denounce Russia or the war and has instead taken a neutral stance.

Tensions have risen in the past 12 months, however, with the United States accusing South Africa of supplying arms to Russia and the Kremlin's war efforts.

A South African GP has therefore been deemed untenable in the near future, signalling a reprieve for Spa.

A spokesperson for Kyalami could not be contacted.

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