Formula 1

‘Show how beautiful the motherland is’ – Lewis Hamilton pleads for return of South African GP after 28-year absence

LEWIS HAMILTON has backed plans for F1 to return to South Africa, with a deal looming for 2023.

Track bosses at the Kyalami circuit are hopeful that the circuit can join the already-bursting schedule of races.

Hamilton is currently second in the World Championship standings behind rival Max Verstappen

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has already unveiled plans for a record-breaking campaign in 2022, set at 23 races.

And Hamilton says that Africa needs to have a race, along with multiple races in America.

He said: “The place that I really feel, to my heart, is most important to me is to get a race back in South Africa.

“I think there is a great following out there and I think it would be great to highlight how beautiful the motherland is.

“The US Grand Prix is fantastic. It is such a huge country, having just one race here for sure is not enough to really tap into the sporting culture here.

“Definitely we need to have two, but there are so many great cities to have a grand prix.

“They are going to have one in Miami, it is going to be incredible, as is Austin.

“I don’t know where they’ll have the next one.

“I think that is quite cool, having these kind of little mini championships in each continent, it is not a bad thing for the sport.”

The South African Grand Prix has not taken place since 1993, when Alain Prost beat out rivals Ayrton Senna and Mark Blundell to claim first place.

The race became a hugely popular event on the F1 circuit in the 1960’s, but was suspended in 1985 due to the country’s policy of Apartheid.

Following the end of Apartheid in 1991, the race was held two more times in 1992 and 1993, but has not returned to the world championship circuit since.

A return was rumoured in 2018 when Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Motorsport South Africa, discussed the possibility of the country hosting another Grand Prix in the near future.

But he revealed that no South African racetrack currently fulfils the FIA requirements to host a Formula One race, with Kyalami the best possible option.

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