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Hamilton: City races best way forward for F1

By Jonathan Noble

F1’s current owner Liberty Media has followed a route of chasing new additions to the calendar in large population areas, rather than permanent venues in the middle of nowhere.

With Miami and Jeddah already having hosted races, a new grand prix is set to take place in Las Vegas next year.

While many in F1 believe the presence of old-school classic races are important, Hamilton thinks that, at a time when interest in grand prix racing is booming, it makes perfect sense to maximise the impact of a race by having it near the highest number of fans.

“I’m a bit old school,” he said. “So of course, I love the history, particularly in certain circuits, but the older I get, the more I realise it's about the people.

“We could go to the middle of nowhere that has very few people, not great accommodation, not great community and for us, as individuals, driving on a track that’s historic is cool – but it's about the people.

“And the people really do make it. We've experienced with pandemic, no one being in there and that's just no atmosphere. It was like a test day. It was not enjoyable. And now we're seeing hundreds of thousands of people turn up to the race, energised, excited, keen to learn more.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG (Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images)

Hamilton thinks that as F1 capitalises on the interest of a wider fanbase, helped in part by the Netflix effect, having races in cities also offers opportunities for more diverse sections of the community to attend too.

“I think the fans are at the heart of what this sport is about, they create it,” he said.

“I think, being in cities where we can really engage in communities and actually also have an impact.

“I love the Nurburgring, for example, but there's not a diverse community there. We're not actually impacting the place there.

“In Miami we can do something. I met a bunch of kids from diverse backgrounds, who now want to get into engineering and STEM subjects and so, it's way cooler for me.”

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