SOUTH AFRICA'S hopes of returning to the F1 calendar have been dealt a blow due to the country's links to Russia.
Bosses at the Kyalami circuit just north of Johannesburg had hoped to take a spot on the 2024 calendar – possibly in place of the Belgian GP, which is in the final year of its contract.
However, after meeting F1 chiefs in London there is a fear from inside the sport that South Africa's political links to Russia could see them hit with sanctions due to the country's war with Ukraine.
In February, a Russian flagship frigate equipped with hypersonic cruise missiles arrived in the South African port of Richards Bay.
And last month a Russian cargo ship also arrived in the country, with questions over the consignment, with US reports alleging it collected weapons heading for Moscow.
South Africa last held an F1 race in 1993 and the Kyalami circuit has undergone substantial investment and redevelopment but the political situation has caused F1 some concerns.
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South African GP bosses are now believed to be concentrating on 2025, which could again come at the expense of the Belgian GP.
Lewis Hamilton said ahead of the Miami GP this year that it would be a "huge dream" for him to race in Africa.
He said: "I've been chatting about having a race in Miami and the next one I've been talking about is South Africa, that's what I'm pushing for in the background.
"Hopefully you'll see that come to light soon as well. It's a really big dream for me to race in South Africa.
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"To race in Africa in my career is a huge, huge dream for me. I know I have a big following out there.
"I know a lot of people are into Formula One now, so I'm pushing as hard as I can in the background and I'm going high up to make sure we have that race happen."
When asked by SunSport, an F1 spokesperson declined to comment on the 2024 F1 calendar.
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