Lewis Hamilton believes city circuits are the future for Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton says that Formula 1 should add more city circuits to its calendar as he believes they are the future of the sport and the best way to attract more fans to the series.
The Mercedes driver reckons the problem with some circuits, highlighting the Chinese Grand Prix as an example, is that they are located too far from major population hubs, making it difficult for fans to travel to and from the race, which has contributed to a declining audience.
Hamilton wants more easily accessible city-based circuits, admitting that he isn't keen on races which have no fans in attendance.
"I’m not necessarily a big fan of some of the new tracks we have," he said during a live Q&A with UBS.
"Some of them are so far outside of a city, people have to commute so far. When we go to China for example, such a great city, so many people, it’s such a big commute to get there. It’s a great track, I don’t know why they’ve built it so far away.
"We’ve got some race in some places where there are just no fans. Why the hell do we have races there? It’s the fans that make the event.
"I think the future is city circuits," he added. "That’s my belief. I hope they introduce more city circuits [to the calendar]. New York would be amazing. The [United] States is such a big part of the world and we only have one grand prix there. I think we need to have more."
Another location Hamilton highlighted would be London, although he said it would be more spectacular if the old V8 sound returned.
"I want a grand prix in London so much," he said. "It wouldn’t sound spectacular right now because the cars sound terrible. The V6, it’s a known fact, they sound bad. When I first came to F1 it was so loud it pierced your ears. That’s another part of it, I hope they bring back that sound."
When asked how the sport can grow, particuarly in the United States, Hamilton allluded to the fact fans can't relate to motorsport as easily as they can sports such as football.
"It’s a tricky one. The biggest problem in motor racing is that it’s very hard to relate to.
"If you want to feel like [Lionel] Messi, you can just go and buy a ball and kick it around or play in a team. You can’t go and do what I do. There’s nothing that gets close to what we do. It’s hard to imagine the experience.
"Then there’s these single races in these countries, so fans have to wait a whole year to have that experience again. I think maybe at least another race over there [in the US] would help.
"We need to be in places where there are actual fans that want to have a race."