Lewis Hamilton says the United States Grand Prix alone is not enough for Formula 1 to fully tap into America’s sporting culture.
Austin has been the home of F1 in the States since 2012, but next year the number is set to grow to two races with the addition of the Miami Grand Prix. Hamilton says such a move is long overdue, and believes there should be further additions in the U.S., although he has another country that he wants to see rejoin the calendar as well.
“The place that I really feel is dear to my heart and most important for me is to get a race back in South Africa,” Hamilton said. “I think there’s a great following out there. I think it would be great to be able to highlight just how beautiful the motherland is.
“The U.S. Grand Prix is fantastic and it’s such a huge country, having just one race here isn’t enough to really be able to tap into the sporting culture here and really encapsulate the fans and get them on the journey with us. I think definitely we need to have at least two, but there are so many great cities to have a grand prix.
“Miami is going to be incredible, as is Austin. I don’t know where they will have the next one, but I am not opposed to that. I think it’s quite cool to have these mini championships in these continents. It’s not a bad thing for the sport.”
Hamilton says F1’s ability to succeed in America has always existed given the country’s appetite for sports, but he’s noticed the recent increase in interest from the U.S. as the championship begins to reach more people.
“I think we already knew from the beginning there was huge potential here,” he said. “My first here in the U.S. was 2007… but I’ve already been to a NASCAR race, seeing how it is, been to an NFL game, an NBA game… they’re crazy about sports over here and there’s never enough sports — they always want more, more action.
“The progress that I have seen over these years has been huge. Obviously, of course, in these past couple of years, it’s been the steepest rise. More and more people are talking about it, more and more people are engaging.
“The amount of emails and messages I get from people that I’ve known for years in the States but never knew what I was doing and are now hooked and can’t wait to come. I think a lot of them are coming this weekend. I think that’s only good, it’s a good thing and it’s great to see the response.”