Max Verstappen has backed Lewis Hamilton’s calls for F1 to return to South Africa as the desire for Kyalami’s re-addition to the race calendar gathers more pace. Almost three decades have passed since the last race took place in Africa, and many believe it’s time to visit the continent as part of a 20+ race season. F1 staged its last Grand Prix in South Africa 29 years ago when it was the first race of the 1993 World Championship. Alain Prost finished ahead of Ayrton Senna and Mark Blundell to kick start a dominant campaign in which he achieved his fourth and final world title.
Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre’s CEO, Toby Venter, has admitted he hopes F1 will soon return to South Africa. And last month, speculation suggested the organisation was close to agreeing to the relaunch of the South African Grand Prix.
Reigning world champion Verstappen was Hamilton’s biggest rival on the track last season, but he has sided with the 37-year-old in confirming he hopes that F1 will return to the continent in the near future. He said: “I’d like to race in Africa. So Kyalami would be a cool addition.” Last year, Hamilton expressed his desire to race in South Africa and revealed it was the ‘most important’ GP to add to the calendar as F1 continues to spread across the globe. In October, he said: “The place I really feel, to my heart, is most important to me is to get a race back in South Africa. I think there is a great following out there, and I think it would be great to highlight how beautiful the motherland is.”
And recently, the seven-time world champion stated he believes it’s ‘important’ for F1 to include Africa in its race calendar, considering every other continent hosts at least one race. Hamilton added that he wants to take to the track in the home of his ancestors and once again stressed his hope that it’s the next new race announced.
“I think it’s important for the sport to go there,” Hamilton explained last month. “If they’re in every other continent, why not? The one I really, really want to see is South Africa. That’s the one I want to hear next that gets announced. Ultimately, my ancestors are from there – so that’s why it’s important for me personally.”