Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is happy with F1 calendar expansion to places with no racing history but prefers streets circuits like Vietnam.
F1 will have a record-breaking 22 races in the 2020 season with the addition of Vietnam GP and return of Dutch GP, while the rest of the races from 2019 except for German GP, remains on the calendar.
In 2020, F1 will have five street circuits on the calendar with Australia, Vietnam, Monaco, Azerbaijan and Singapore. When asked on the latest addition, Hamilton said he actually preferred street circuits.
Citing the example of Indian GP, which doesn’t finds a place on the F1 calendar and the Buddh International Circuit not being used as much, Hamilton felt street circuits is less burden on countries.
“I think it’s been great to have new circuits,” he said to the media including FormulaRapida.net. “I think keeping the historic ones, where we had the biggest following because those crowd that really makes the atmosphere.
“We’ve got to keep places like UK. Losing Germany, I think it is a bit of a painful one, for example. However, I think it’s good to go to new territories for sure, to expand our reach as a sport.
“I prefer that they do a street circuit that can maybe be taken down, it’s only temporary rather than, for example, India where they built that beautiful circuit, and we don’t get to race there anymore.”
It is interesting of Hamilton to mention India, especially after his last statement about the country which had to be clarified not only by him, but also by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff after huge backlash.
He had said: “I’ve been to India before to a race which was strange because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, beautiful Grand Prix track made in the middle of nowhere.
“I felt very conflicted when I went to that Grand Prix.” The whole controversy was blown out of proportion. Meanwhile, talking about the addition of Vietnam, other drivers had their say as well.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo added: “Selfishly, it’s nice to go to new destinations. I think we’re quite privileged to have this job and to be able to see new parts of the world.
“It’s sometimes an excuse to go and check out another place so from that point of view it’s actually always exciting for me because I know that I probably wouldn’t have traveled to all these places as a holiday destination if F1 didn’t take me there.
“I’ve discovered some pretty awesome places around the world through the calendar. I’ve never been to Vietnam so yeah, I’m excited to go there. And it’s a chance to open new fans up to the sport, and I guess give a new crowd an opportunity to see what it’s like.
“Right now, I don’t see the downside of it, not at all.” Meanwhile, Haas’ Romain Grosjean was all for Vietnam as well, taking Singapore as an example which has become a hot destination for F1.
“There are definitely tracks which you want to keep racing on that have a lot of history, but also some tracks now that have history didn’t have any ten years ago like Singapore,” he said.
“Now everyone thinks that Singapore is a normal race, but it only started in 2008. I don’t know. Obviously, the number of races is limited by the human factor: should we do one year more in Europe, one year more outside Europe and mix.
“Obviously, there are tracks where you want to race, and there are other tracks where you want to race also. I don’t know the answer.” McLaren’s Lando Norris and Williams’ Robert Kubica agreed with their peers.
The story was written by Venkatesh P Koushik and edited by Darshan Chokhani