Lewis Hamilton has been rallying for Formula 1 to return to Africa for a number of years.
The first race since 1993 in the continent appears to be getting ever-closer, after the seven-time world champion’s fierce rival Max Verstappen expressed his support for a return to Africa.
With the championship’s rigorous calendar continuing to expand, it seems logical for the pinnacle of motorsport to return to the only continent, bar Antarctica, that it doesn’t race at.
Hamilton has made his opinion clear that the sport should return specifically to South Africa and the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.
Kyalami hosted the sport from 1967-1993, with running costs eventually becoming too much for the famous circuit.
However, following recent re-developments of the circuit which is currently an FIA Grade 2 venue, a possible Formula 1 return to the historic circuit is looking ever more likely.
Reigning world champion Verstappen is the most recent driver to express his support for a return to the circuit.
“I’d like to race in Africa. So Kyalami would be a cool addition,” Verstappen said.
The Dutchman’s support echoes the points made by Hamilton, who is a keen supporter for the championship’s return to the continent.
“The place I really feel, to my heart, is most important to me is to get a race back in South Africa.” explained the Mercedes driver.
“I think there is a great following out there, and I think it would be great to highlight how beautiful the motherland is.”
The sport’s return though all depends on how quickly the circuit can get the facility up to Grade 1 standard, which is needed to host a Grand Prix.
For Kyalami to get the Grade 1 certification, the circuit needs further investment into TecPro barriers and extra run-offs.
It’s not just the drivers who are keen for a return to South Africa; F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has also spoken of his support of getting the series back to Africa.
“On top of America, on top of China, I think there is a potential also to be in Africa soon,” the former Ferrari F1 boss said in March.
“There is a lot of interest there. For sure that’s another area that so far is missing in the geography of our calendar.”