Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1 "needs" to race in South Africa after talks about the return to Kyalami collapsed last week. Championship bosses have been locked in talks with the Kyalami circuit and potential promoters about a package to return Grand Prix racing to the African continent, but as RacingNews365.com exclusively revealed last week, the target of a 2023 race is off. The main reason why Kyalami was shelved was a lack of government support, with the South African Tourism department only issuing assurances and not guarantees. Costings of work required to bring the venue, which last held F1 in 1993, up to FIA Grade One status, and who would pay the reported $15 million were also contentious sticking points. However, the deal fell through with 2024 now seemingly the target, as the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa receiving a reprieve for '23 in wake of the news.
Hamilton keen for South African return
It is a glaring hole in the F1 calendar, that the World Championship does not feature a Grand Prix in Africa - with F1 eager to right that particular wrong. However, with no other suitable circuits in Africa, it is Kyalami or bust. The situation is one that concerns Hamilton - who has been keen for the series to return to African asphalt for the first time in nearly three decades. "I've been pushing a lot in the background to get the Grand Prix there," the seven-time World Champion told media including RacingNews365.com at Spa. "I'm happy with the talks that have been [happening], and Stefano [Domenicali] has been doing an amazing job trying to get it to happen. "I'm still hopeful that there might be a race next year, you can never say never. "As long as we get to get it on the calendar, [I'm happy]. "We need to have a Grand Prix there." The last South African Grand Prix in 1993 was won by Alain Prost in the Williams, leading home Ayrton Senna and a lapped Mark Blundell for the other podium spots.