In an ambitious effort before his retirement, Lewis Hamilton is determined to bring Formula 1 racing back to Africa after a 30-year absence. His commitment to reintroducing Grand Prix races in the continent aligns with his advocacy for South Africa’s inclusion in the F1 calendar.
- Lewis Hamilton’s Goal: The Mercedes driver is focused on achieving a major goal before retiring from F1 – reintroducing Grand Prix races in Africa, specifically South Africa. His efforts include “working in the background” to bring the continent back into the spotlight of Formula 1.
- South Africa’s Missed Opportunity: The last F1 Grand Prix in Africa was held in 1993. Jody Scheckter, the 1979 World Champion, revealed that recent negotiations for a new event fell through due to the greed of circuit officials in Kyalami, leading to a missed opportunity.
- F1 Management’s Support: F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali confirmed in 2022 the organization’s intent to include Africa in the racing calendar soon. He indicated interest from other locations in Africa apart from Kyalami, emphasizing the need for the right partners and stable fundamentals.
Lewis Hamilton, a renowned name in the world of Formula 1, has set his sights on a unique and meaningful goal as he approaches the twilight of his career: to bring back the excitement and glamour of F1 racing to Africa. The last event on the continent was held three decades ago, in 1993, at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa. Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, has not only dreamt about this but is actively working towards making it a reality.
This ambition is not a recent development. Hamilton has long been an advocate for the inclusion of South Africa and the African continent in the Formula 1 calendar. His passion for this project is evident in his commitment to stay in the sport until this dream is fulfilled. In his words during an interaction with fans in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton expressed, “I’m working in the background to get South Africa on the race [calendar]. That’s like such a dream for me, I’ve got to stay until they get that race.”
The journey to reintroducing F1 racing in Africa has not been without its challenges. The Kyalami circuit, which once hosted the South African Grand Prix, has been at the center of failed negotiations. According to Jody Scheckter, who won the World Championship in 1979, a deal was almost reached for Kyalami’s return. However, greed for money from the circuit officials led to a breakdown in negotiations and a missed opportunity.
Despite these setbacks, there is a glimmer of hope. Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of Formula 1, confirmed the organization’s interest in bringing back the African continent to the F1 calendar. Domenicali’s statement to Sky Sports F1 in 2022 highlighted the presence of other locations in Africa, besides Kyalami, showing interest in hosting Formula One events. His commitment to ensuring the right partners and stable foundations for these events is a positive step towards realizing Hamilton’s dream and enriching the F1 racing calendar with the inclusion of Africa.
In conclusion, Lewis Hamilton’s unwavering dedication to bringing Formula 1 back to Africa stands as a testament to his commitment not only to the sport but also to the continent’s potential in the global racing arena. His vision, coupled with the support of F1 management, raises hopes for the revival of African Grand Prix racing, potentially marking a new chapter in the sport’s history.