Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Hamilton says he’s “pushing a lot” to get South African GP on the calendar

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says he’s hopeful the South African Grand Prix will return soon, though it is not expected to go ahead next year.

In brief

Hamilton “pushing” for Kyalami race

Although the South African Grand Prix is not expected to feature on the 2023 Formula 1 calendar, Hamilton is still holding out hope it will return soon.

“I’ve been pushing a lot in the background to get the grand prix there,” said the Mercedes driver. “I’m happy that there’s talks.”

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali “has been doing an amazing job trying to get it to happen,” Hamilton added. “I’m still hopeful that there might be a race next year. Never say never.”

Last weekend’s confirmation the Belgian Grand Prix will take place again next year is understood to have come about as plans for a race on the Kyalami circuit have been pushed back to 2024 at the earliest. Hamilton said he’s “still going to continue to hope that it’s next year.”

“But as long as we get it on the calendar, I think we need to have a grand prix there,” he added.

Zandvoort “can’t be worse” than Spa for McLaren – Norris

Lando Norris is hopeful Zandvoort will suit McLaren better than Spa did, after the team failed to score last weekend.

“It’s high downforce, so it hopefully moves us a little bit more back in line with Budapest kind of pace, I hope,” he said.

“But you never know, it was actually our worst track last season. I’m hoping this year it’s not the case because some of the problems that we had in previous years are maybe not so evident this year and we’ve got other problems. It can’t be a lot worse, I hope, than this weekend.”

IndyCar test for Blomqvist

Meyer Shank will give an IndyCar test to Tom Blomqvist, who has re-signed for the team to drive their Acura ARX-06 LMDh in the 2023 IMSA season. Blomqvist, who finished between champion Esteban Ocon and third-placed Max Verstappen in the 2014 European Formula 3 championship, said IndyCar is “definitely something that I aspire to do in the future and I have to thank the team massively for giving me the chance to do that test.”

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Comment of the day

What does the state of the championship say about how successful F1’s new regulations have been?

A lot of people were chafing at the bit to have these new chassis regulations brought in claiming they would end one-team dominance and promote closer racing.

While others like me would have preferred the chassis rules had not changed relying on evolution to bring the teams closer together in terms of competitiveness. Cars can certainly follow closer without issue now.

I have not kept count of the number of overtakes so I can’t say that there is more per race or not. It is obvious that the main case for the new regulations have not worked, Red Bull with Verstappen has won the drivers’ championship easily. On the bright side, the mid-field has closed up and provides brilliant racing.
JohnH (@Johnrkh)

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On this day in motorsport

  • 30 years ago today Michael Andretti won the CART IndyCar race at Vancouver, drawing within 12 points of championship leader Bobby Rahal, who crashed out after 29 laps

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35 comments on “Hamilton says he’s “pushing a lot” to get South African GP on the calendar”

  1. I think it is racism to compare people to goats!

    1. Or maybe goatism

      1. Funny, you are the only ones speaking about goats here…

  2. Kyalami is not an FIA grade 1 track, it cannot hold a Formula 1 GP.

    It’s also privately owned and surrounded on three sides by existing developments.

    It’s also a 12-hour-flight from Europe and has no potential twin on the calendar, making it an ecologically terrible idea.

    Who’s going to come up with the $50 million or more a year in hosting fees and how are they supposed to be financed?

    And why South Africa at all? How about one of the oil-rich nations on the continent, preferably with questionable politics and lots of dark money surpluses, as per the usual F1 MO?

    1. A dictatorship with an horrendous human rights record that is suppressing free speech and will hold any F1 staff hostage until a public execution can be scheduled before a fair and honest hearing has been held, would be optimal.

    2. Lewis Hamilton thinks it’s a great idea…

    3. They could go to Marroco which is decent compaired to the others countries and could pay for it.

      1. @macleod
        Decent ? As long as you’re lobotomized and blindly cheering for the established royal regime…

        1. @tifoso1989 – Compaired with the rest Marocco is very decent. Visiting my neighbours during vacation it’s a stable land friendly people and even de persons in charge where nice. Listen to the stories of a lot of neighbours from my neighbourhood it’s not that bad even if your not for the king. It’s not Saudi and even beter then Turkey.

    4. Kyalami is not an FIA grade 1 track, it cannot hold a Formula 1 GP.

      @proesterchen at the risk of sounding cynical circuit grading is a non-issue as F1 and FIA have shown in the past; certifying a circuit is a simple process with relatively minor track variations occasionally required as a defense in case of legal inquiry.

  3. Champing at the bit

  4. It’s quite obvious that Hamilton should pay the $50m out of his own pocket afterall he is the one pushing for Kyalami’s inclusion.

  5. Well at this point Lewis can say anything

  6. A bit of a curious take in that CotD @johnh. Sure, many FANS and Media talked about upsetting the balance and making title fights closer but the aim of the rules change was to enable close racing. And that’s working.

    Also when people mentioned the championship the mostly meant not seeing Mercedes Walk it again. Even that worked , the change meant that there are now 2 teams ahead of them!

    I am sure that over the next few seasons the field will get closer to the top teams. In the midfield it is already quite close wit often only hundreds or even thousands deciding who drops out in q1 and q2

    1. @bascb I made those exact objection against what turned out to be the CotD and so I find it curious that it was chosen as CotD. It is simply wrong. The new regulations were to enable close racing, the cost cap was to close up the pack. They are two different things with two different goals.

      New regs usually change the balance to some extent but often create a gap at the front as there are different interpretations and some get it right whereas others get it wrong, whereas stable regs usually have the effect of bringing the pack closer together.

      Therefore I have no idea why the expectations were such that the new technical regs were aimed at closing the pack. But it should be clear that that wasn’t the goal.

      1. stable regs usually have the effect of bringing the pack closer together.

        That’s a very common observation, but I don’t think it’s actually true.
        It’s not stability (evolution) of the regs, but instability (revolution) that creates a tighter pack. It’s just that the effect occurs on the outgoing system, not the incoming one.
        If there were major rule changes every season, multi-season dominance could well become a thing of the past.

        1. The issue is not just that a single team is dominating for several seasons in a row though S. The issue is that there are only 2 or at best 3 teams that get close to fighting for the honours.

          And with any new set of rules, these are the richest teams, with the best facilities (as they have the money to invest and allow for their upkeep) and best engineers so it’s almost a given that with ever rule change they are a step further ahead of the rest of the pack.

          The budget cap (and testing and aero limitations in the rules) are made to counter that, but only by giving the smaller teams the time to copy ideas from the big teams and over time have the cars converge on common solutions makes the field bunch up.

          1. The issue is that there are only 2 or at best 3 teams that get close to fighting for the honours.

            When has F1 been any different? That’s not a technical problem, though, and can’t be solved with the technical regulations…. Unless the technical solution is to make F1 a true spec series where teams have no engineering influence.

            It doesn’t matter whether the technical rules remain stable or change drastically – the biggest and wealthiest teams will (almost) always be the ones closest to the front – certainly over the course of a complete season -simply because they can do the most plentiful and efficient R&D. The more restrictive the rules are, the more beneficial it is for the big teams.
            There is no perfect car, there will always be improvements to be made.
            Convergence is a myth. Or an outright lie.

            There are ways to create the illusion of convergence, however, by utilising a combination of technical and sporting tweaks (see GT3 or BTCC) but die-hard F1 fans won’t have it. As if having the most money makes F1 a meritocracy….

          2. S, I thought about your comment for a while, but I don’t think I agree. Going over the major rule changes of the past 25 years we almost invariably saw the pack stretched on first years (1998, 2009, 2014, 2022) and being closer towards the end of these periods. Yes, the development might of the richest teams can definitely not be ignored, but the fact is that the other teams can take ideas away from the bigger teams to get faster instead of having to do all of the R&D themselves.

            2008 was a lot more competitive than 1998. 2012 and 2013 were pretty great before the tyre changes of 2013 and teams halting development so Red Bull could dominate the second half. 2021 was definitely more competitive than 2014.

            And in 2022 before the summer break we had 2 teams far far ahead, then nothing, then a third team, then nothing, then the rest. After the TD we might even go towards utter dominance, but let’s wait until we see the rest of the season play out.

          3. Indeed S, it is not a technical problem. And that is why they aren’t solving it with technical solutions.

            Instead we got the aero limiting rules that try to even the field by giving the top finishers in the previous year less scope for doing aero development and the backmarkers extra scope to do so.

            And we got the budget cap which prevents teams from just spending more and more money to stay ahead of the competition.

            Convergence always works over time with stable rules since everyone sees what others are doing and given the time, they copy what works. That was why the cars were so close to each other by the end of the last generation of rules. The aero rules help a bit to bring that forward. And over the next 5 years we will slowly see more and more effects of the budget cap evening out the playing field as well.

            That is not to say we won’t have top teams and teams that are lagging behind. One just has to look at how Ferrari are giving us a masterclass of throwing opportunities away despite having (one of) the biggest budgets for decades compared to how relentlessly Mercedes and Red Bull are operating when they get things right and can run that wave, improve their operations to stay ahead.
            The rule change upped the balance between them, but again, next year Mercedes will almost certainly be closer again.

          4. The aero ‘BoP’ is a massive compromise and only works in the hypothetical situation that everyone gets equal value from every hour of wind tunnel time. Which, obviously, isn’t the reality. The big teams will still stay toward the front regardless.
            And the budget cap is another massive compromise that allows the big teams to maintain their advantages. It should be set at a figure where every team can reach it, and it should have no exclusions at all.

            I totally disagree on convergence. Many teams may copy parts and systems, but ultimately they always stay behind by doing so. You don’t win by copying – you win by being ‘better’ and more imaginative.
            Again, the reason the (top two) teams were so close last year was because neither was throwing much development resource at them. Much of their HR was working on this years car instead.

            It would be nice to think that the budget cap will bring the teams closer together, but that will only work when the people in those teams, and the tools they have available, also ‘converge.’
            Ferrari is proof that you can have the most money and resources and still mess it up with the ‘wrong’ approach – for decades.

            As for Merc’s performance next year – the only (near) certainty is that they’ll still be in the top 3. If they are still miles off the pace, then it’s no better than this year.
            And given the constraints imposed by the budget cap and the restrictions of the technical regs, they may well stay there for several years until the next major rule changes.
            I’m sure you are well aware of the patterns of dominance over the last 20 years….
            As I said before, the closest year is the last one of each technical regs period, because the teams are already looking elsewhere.

  7. COTD fails to note why this season’s championship eventually ended up becoming such one-sided & technical rule changes aren’t the contributor, but Ferrari’s incompetence, unreliability at crucial moments, & unforced driver errors combined.

    1. It’s a combination of many things @jerejj, including those you mention.
      Remember Mercedes was calling for rule changes to the cars to fix the bouncing, the FIA introduced a technical rule change (of sorts) to address it, and now Red Bull are even further ahead.
      Funnily enough, Toto’s now said (after Spa) that F1 shouldn’t rush into any more rules changes…

    2. Indeed. The actions of Ferrari and their lead driver have certainly resulted in it being a lot more one sided than it should have been. It was clear early on that at that stage, the Ferrari was a match for the RedBull car.

    3. @jerejj Whilst Ferrari have clearly floundered and appear to be in denial, they exclusively shouldn’t be blamed for the one-sided championship contest and the other 8 teams should shoulder their portion of the blame. They should all be closer to RBR.

      Completely overhauled technical regulations in F1 have always been sold on the premise that it will even out the field. It has not delivered on that at the front of the field although made it better down the order.

      Difference this time is that Red Bull’s advantage will take longer to overcome with the imposition of the cost cap. Not against the cost cap but it will lock in advantages as other teams have had the option of investing to catch up taken away from them. Therefore can see RBR advantage sustained fairly easily unless this floor stuff clips their wings!

      1. Not against the cost cap but it will lock in advantages as other teams have had the option of investing to catch up taken away from them. Therefore can see RBR advantage sustained fairly easily unless this floor stuff clips their wings!

        Remember that teams’ aero / CFD runs scale with success so that those lagging the furthest behind have the most time available to improve.

        Is that going to work? It would still require the worst teams to come up with innovative solutions and that could very well turn out to be a blind squirrel situation.

        1. @proesterchen I think your assertion about blind squirrels is correct. You can have all the CFD time in the world but if your designers can’t discover the same concept as the best team in the first place then you aren’t going to move up the grid.

  8. South Africa sounds great but the normal fees is like 300 milion for them as everything there is 1/10 of the prices of us. Who is going to pay that fee the people? they aren’t going to pay €1000 per ticket even for the moderate earning people those are way too much. And i took the normal €100 ticket for 1 day as price.

    I am sorry but no country in Africa can pay for hosting a race without hurting their economy. Even the Oil producing countries need more then 30 years to get their economy health enough to do that kind of things.

    South Africa is still paying for the WC 2010 ….

  9. FIFA wanted a world cup in Africa and it gave to South Africa. F1 wants a race in Africa and is looking at South Africa. Africa has 50+ countries, why always to the same ? This is hypocrisy. They just want to tick a box to look good. If we really want a race in Africa, let’s do it in the streets of Lagos, Cairo, Nairobi or Dakar. Why not ? Because South Africans can pay the high prices of tickets ? If so, what part of the fragmented South African population would really attend the race ? Would they be representative of the African people as a whole? Perhaps, F1 would dedicate a discrete part of the stands to disadvantaged South Africans (with free tickets) to ensure that the cameras show them (as happened during the football world cup).

    1. I suspect there are a number of factors. South Africa has a history of hosting F1 races, of course (though this is a bit of a mixed blessing, since one of the most notable things is that F1 was one of the last sports to boycott South Africa over apartheid).

      The big thing will be money – not necessarily ticket prices for spectators (it would hardly be unique for a country to host a Grand Prix that the vast majority of local residents would be unable to afford to attend) – but a host willing to pay the enormous sums demanded by F1 to stage an event. Lots of governments have seen the value of F1 for tourism and/or sportswashing purposes, and most F1 races have government backing in some shape or form. Apart from South Africa the only African government I’m aware of that has been prepared to fund international motorsport events has been Morocco, with its WTCC and Formula E events. It’s not impossible that another one could follow suit – and I don’t claim to know enough about the governments of various African countries to say how likely it is – but I haven’t heard anything to suggest it might be on the cards.

  10. The best way to enforce a cost cap is to have a claiming rule – one team can buy another’s car for a certain price (maybe the price of the cost cap?) This would also guarantee closer racing – there would be no advantage at all in having a vastly superior car.

    1. Everyone would buy the best car. (right now a Red Bull) and Formula 1 would turn into a spec series.

      Who needs another spec series? No one.

      1. @proesterchen not true, not everyone would buy a Red Bull, of course Lawrence Stroll would buy it but not everyone. Furthermore it would not end up as a spec series, teams would be free to further develop their vehicles. Red Bull may be obligated to sell the car (the drawings specifically, not the physical product) but the following year’s car is already in the design or development stage with the intention to supersede the prior design.

        1. Who wouldn’t buy a Red Bull? And how many points would they end up collecting over a season?

          Red Bull would be running a Red Bull.
          Alpha Tauri would be running a Red Bull.
          Aston Martin would be running a Red Bull.
          Williams would be running a Red Bull.
          Haas would be running a Red Bull.
          Sauber would be forced to run a Red Bull.
          Alpine would be forced to run a Red Bull.
          McLaren would be forced to run a Red Bull.

          Which would leave Ferrari and Mercedes either running Red Bulls or struggling against all the other Red Bulls trying to snatch a point here or there. So they would be running Red Bulls, too.

          The slow teams have nothing to lose, and the faster teams see their own position fading as more and more competitors start running an undeniably better car.

          We’ve seen this in the past, too. With ostensibly multi-make series turning into spec series when one supplier has a superior design. (think Lola -> Reynard in Indycar in the mid-90s)

  11. He is such a hypocrit…
    What about the footprint of a 12-hour flight?
    Or pushing for a race in Thailand, fer equality?
    Retire and get lost, wannabe-”goat”.

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