Lewis Hamilton issues clear US request to F1 as next major destination identified

Oliver Harden
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton attends a sponsor event ahead of the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix. F1 news

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton attends a sponsor event.

Lewis Hamilton has called for F1 to draw the line at three American-based grands prix, claiming a race in Africa is “needed” next for a complete calendar.

The United States has held three rounds over the course of the F1 2023 season, with last weekend’s visit to Las Vegas coming after trips to Miami and Austin, Texas.

The rise of American races on the calendar, with Miami and Vegas added over the last two seasons, comes amid a concerted push by F1 owners Liberty Media to broaden the sport’s fanbase.

Lewis Hamilton keen on Africa F1 comeback

F1 non-executive chairman Chase Carey let slip over the Las Vegas weekend that New York could be the next destination in the sport’s sights, but Hamilton has called for the number of races in the United States to stop at three.

And the seven-time World Champion believes F1 should instead turn its attention to Africa.

He told Sky F1: “It’s not my job to decide how many races there is [in America], but we definitely don’t need any more. We definitely don’t need any more races.

“There’s one more race we need and that’s going to be Africa. We have all the other continents and why not there? So that’s the one I’m working on pushing right now.”

F1 has not visited the African continent since 1993 when Williams driver Alain Prost won the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami. The event was close to being revived last year as a replacement for the Belgian GP at Spa, but the bid ultimately fell through.

Only one American circuit featured on the calendar when Hamilton made his F1 debut in 2007, with the then-McLaren driver claiming his second career victory at Indianapolis in just his seventh grand prix appearance.

The United States was then absent from the schedule for four years before returning with the newly built Circuit of The Americas in Austin in 2012 – an event also won by Hamilton.

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Hamilton has been left stunned by the growth of F1 in the US over the course of his career, revealing that fans had a limited understanding and appreciation of the sport in his earliest days.

He explained: “I remember we had a race in 2007 out here and I found myself constantly trying to educate a new audience.

“It’s like they’ve never heard of anything that we were doing. I was like: ‘How haven’t they got the same kind of excitement that we have that we’ve grown up with, our culture?’

“It’s been amazing to see the change, the shift.”

Hamilton’s former title rival Max Verstappen has emerged as F1’s Captain America in recent years, with the three-time World Champion winning all six races held in the United States since October 2021.

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