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Hamilton puts new venue forward as F1 calendar debate continues

Lewis Hamilton has called for F1 to return to South Africa for the first time since 1993, and expects talks to be held on "whether or not we should be in some of the places that we go to".

Lewis Hamilton has once again called for F1 to add an African race to the calendar. Next season will see China, Qatar and Las Vegas back on F1's schedule, with the latter becoming one of three races in the United States. However, there remains no African race on the calendar for the 30th consecutive season. "I think it's important for the sport to go there. If they're in every other continent, why not?" Hamilton said, speaking to members of the media, including RacingNews365.com .

Hamilton wants South African return after Las Vegas deal

At present, Africa counts no FIA Grade 1 circuits eligible to host an F1 event. However, changes can be made to help ensure a track is fit for approval. The continent has two FIA Grade 2 circuits: Morocco's Automobile Moulay El Hassan and South African's Kyalami, which underwent extensive refurbishment work in 2015. "The one I really, really want to see is South Africa. That's the one I want to hear next that gets announced," added Hamilton. "Ultimately, my ancestors are from there, so that's why it's important for me, personally."

Africa showing "a lot of interest" in F1

Speaking back in March, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali made clear that there is potential to soon deliver an African race "On top of America, on top of China, I think there is a potential also to be in Africa soon," he told Sky Sports F1 . "There is a lot of interest there. For sure, that's another area that so far is missing in the geography of our calendar."

No room on the 2023 F1 calendar

With Qatar, China and Las Vegas back on the calendar for 2023, there are now 25 venues that hold contracts with F1, with the current Concorde Agreement only allowing for 24 races to be staged per year. But historic venues such as Mexico City and Spa-Francorchamps are now at risk of falling from the calendar, while controversial hosts Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are amongst those who hold long-term deals. "I think it's amazing that we have bridged that relationship now [with America]," Hamilton continued, happy to see Las Vegas join the party. "Three races on one [other] continent, I think that's going to be awesome. I think it'd be good for the business; I think Vegas will be an awesome addition." He continued: "I'm sure there'll be discussions, probably in the background, on how we move forward in a positive way and whether or not we should be in some of the places that we go to – but that's not my decision, at the end of the day."

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