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F1 should be in Africa, says Hamilton


Lewis Hamilton has urged F1 bosses to put Africa back on the map as he claims that the continent is "the most important place that we have to go to".

Though a number of motorsport series have visited Africa in recent years, the last round of the Formula One World Championship to take place there was back in 1993 in South Africa.

Since the inception of the championship in 1950, 21 South African Grands Prix have been held, the first three at East London and the remainder at Kyalami (pictured), and whilst there have been 13 Grands Prix in Morocco - dating back to 1925 - only one - that run in 1958 - formed part of the world championship.

Last year, (then) commercial boss, Sean Bratches, claimed that the sport was considering a return to the only (inhabited) continent that does not feature on the world championship schedule, revealing that the Moroccan city of Marrakesh was in talks to host a race.

"We race on five continents and the last habituated continent that we don't race in is Africa," said Bratches at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London. "We have proactively been approached by Morocco and Marrakech to take a grand prix there. There is a high degree of interest.

"Formula One raced in South Africa before, "he added, "there is a historic track in Kyalami, but I have been told that due to political considerations historically, that ceased.

"We are looking in the short term to have a race there. It is really important to us to have a race in Africa."

Two months earlier, F1 CEO, Greg Maffei also talked of a race in Africa.

"We've looked at other alternatives in the US, including Las Vegas," he said. "We've looked at other alternatives in Africa.

"You're always trying to balance both solidifying where you are strong, or core, which is historically western Europe, and then adding other things, like potentially a second race in China, potentially a race in Africa.

"We're not yet prepared to announce any," he admitted, "but there's a careful mix or blend of where you want to grow and where you want to solidify."

Now Lewis Hamilton has spoken out, urging bosses to put the continent back on the F1 map.

Speaking in a video for Petronas, when asked where he would like F1 to race, he was in no doubt. "Easy," he replied, "Africa. It's such an important place to go back.

"At the moment Formula 1 goes to countries and doesn't really leave much behind if anything," he added. "Formula 1 has to shift into being a sport that does go to places and leaves behind something that can really help the communities and I think firstly bringing the attention back to Africa and highlighting the beautiful place it is, I think that's the most important place that we have to go to.

"It needs to be held where it's not all about money," he continued, "it's about people, and in business that's not always the case, so that's something I'm pushing for."

The sport was set to return to South Africa this year courtesy of a fan festival in Johannesburg. Fans were looking forward to the opportunity of seeing Valtteri Bottas and David Coulthard giving demonstration runs, while 1979 world championship winner, Jody Scheckter was also set to make a rare appearance in his title-clinching Ferrari.

Sadly, like the opening ten races on the 2020 calendar, it fell victim to the pandemic.


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1. Posted by The Dreaded badger, 01/07/2020 7:22

"@Quickdraw - spot on! That's the tip of the iceberg. Much the same as world boycotted RSA during apartheid, so must F1 boycott an SA race. Just a pity that #44 isn't here to see first hand what's happening. Imagine the outcry if he got mugged, let alone stabbed or badly injured? The world needs to know"

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2. Posted by Pavlo, 29/06/2020 8:31

"Unfortunately this topic is now just an easy way to get into headlines. Realistically, how do you imagine it? South Africa with it's history? Morocco with white arab population? Or maybe Syria? Namibia?
Should they build a shiny F1 track in the middle of the starving country struggling to get fresh water, where majority can't afford a regular car, not to mention a karting for kids? And than Lewis arrives on a private jet, lives in a comfortable motorhome... what is the sense?"

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3. Posted by Quickdraw, 28/06/2020 22:01

"South Africa is the last place that an F1 GP should be run. As much as the old apartheid government was punished for their racist policies all those years ago, the current lot are if anything a hundred times worse. Our currency has devalued 5 times against the USD in 25 years. Theft and corruption. Embezzlement of public funds. Education, health services, policing, power generation, SOEs, and housing in complete and utter disarray. Unemployment insurance non-existent. Racist employment quotas, 35% unemployment, 61% of the public purse spent on government salaries. Eskom, the local electricity utility looted of over 500 billion Rands in fifteen years. They are even looting the Covid-19 relief funding received from foreign donors, awarding ridiculous government tenders to their pals for supplies and equipment at massively inflated prices. Almost seventy murders per day. Amongst the highest rates of rape and violence against women in the world. Farmers and their wives and small children butchered by gangs of armed criminals - last weekend there were nine attacks spanning three days. South Africa simply doesn't deserve it and should be boycotted until such time as it's government gets it's head out of the feeding trough and starts running the country like a country instead of a drunken free-for-all."

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4. Posted by Lapps, 28/06/2020 17:58

"The Kyalami Circuit is still there, although it is a truncated version of the old classic circuit. I was at the final GP in 1993, but my favourite race was the last one at the old circuit. I managed to park two 6m trailers on the fence inside of Crowthorne (the corner at the end of the straight). We put folding chairs on the roof of one and a bar in the other. Ah, F1 used to be great!
The other memory from way back then was some young guy called Jody hustling a rear engined, swing axled, Renault 8 through Crowthorne on three wheels, steering with one hand and the other through the open window holding the drip rail on the roof. We guessed he would go far. He did!"

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