Lewis Hamilton, the three-time Formula One world champion and current Mercedes driver, says his most valuable achievement would be diversity in motorsport.
Lewis Hamilton says diversity in motorsport would be the most valuable achievement for Formula 1. He has called on other top drivers to help push for more diversity within the sport.
Lewis Hamilton spoke with two young individuals, Natalie and Elikem, about diversity in Formula One.
Lewis Hamilton believes that helping motorsport diversify would be “the most important” thing he has accomplished in his career.
Hamilton expressed optimism that the results of a study he commissioned into increasing minorities’ participation in the business would become “part of my legacy.”
The research was carried out in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
“I wish things had been different when I was younger, and I want to be a part of that change,” Hamilton added.
“It would be the most important thing for me if I could alter it.”
A group of specialists in education, motorsport, and diversity produced the Hamilton Commission’s findings.
It discovered that broader social problems, as well as particular obstacles within the business, were hurting black students’ prospects in the UK racing industry.
“We realize it’s not only the racing sector that has to change,” Mercedes driver Hamilton, a seven-time Formula One world champion, said. “We discovered there are still systemic problems confronting young black people at all levels of the school system.”
Last year, Hamilton established the commission.
What is the purpose of the report?
Following the 2019 Formula One season, Hamilton began work on the commission after seeing a dearth of ethnic minorities in team photographs.
After the worldwide uproar against racial prejudice that followed the death of unarmed African-American George Floyd by US police last summer, he made its existence public.
“The question has always been asked: ‘What do I want my legacy to be?’” Hamilton, F1’s lone black driver, remarked. I don’t recall giving it any consideration at the time.
“It was to be recognized as one of the greatest F1 drivers when I was younger, but success has come with time, and the pleasure that comes with it is usually fleeting.”
“I’ve been thinking, ‘Gee, there’s got to be a reason I fell between the gaps and not only got into the sport, but am at the forefront of it, and what am I going to do with all these titles?’
“The cosmos has a strange way of working. I had this commission concept towards the end of 2019, and we had begun working on it, when the entire incident with George and the whole movement occurred, and it aligned with what we were trying to accomplish, and I really felt like I had found my purpose.
“I want to be known for more than just winning championships, which is incredible in and of itself, but also for really helping people and changing the industry and views.”
“Every one of us is the same. Every one of us bleeds in the same way. There’s no reason it can’t be as varied as the rest of the globe. All it takes is a little movement of the needle across a long distance, which might be the size of an entire continent. It has the potential to be massive.”
Since the Spanish Grand Prix in May, Hamilton has not competed in Formula One.
What are the suggestions?
The study revealed evidence of both blatant racism and a lack of concern for the problem, as well as practical and logistical barriers for applicants from minority backgrounds, among the hurdles to black success in the racing sector.
The fact that none of the Formula One teams had ethnicity statistics for their workers was one of the concerns highlighted. As a consequence, Rhys Morgan, director of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the report’s authors, stated their statistic of 1% of F1 workers being black was an estimate.
The study identified recruiting methods in F1 that favored candidates from a small number of high-ranking institutions, as well as a slew of problems impeding the growth of black pupils in STEM disciplines in schools.
Hamilton said that he desired a “commission of action.”
The study, which was released on Tuesday in advance of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, offers ten suggestions centered on access to stem subjects.
These are some of them:
- F1 teams and the broader industry are being urged to adopt a diversity and inclusion charter.
- Increasing access to higher and degree apprenticeships outside the usual recruiting from a small number of institutions.
- The creation of a fund to address the issues that contribute to the high percentage of black kids being excluded from school
- New methods to increasing the number of black kids pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses that lead to engineering professions
- establishing scholarship programs for black students pursuing engineering and associated degrees
Racist abuse on England players has been described as “devastating.”
Hamilton believes that education is the key to addressing the lack of diversity in racing and prejudice in general.
He described the racist abuse directed at England players Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho after they missed penalties in the Euro 2023 final on Sunday as “devastating to watch, but it demonstrates that we have a long, long way to go as a country.”
“Education, in my view,” Hamilton said. “I’m just learning now because I grew raised in a system where you don’t learn about your origins.”
“People often ask me, ‘Where are you from?’ I was born in the United Kingdom, but half of my family is from the West Indies, and I’ve never learned about their history.
“And I’ve been doing a lot of research to figure out where my ancestors came from in Africa.”
“It’s an educational issue, and the [school] curriculum should absolutely change.”
“We need more help from social media companies; the blackout earlier this year was helpful, but it wasn’t enough.” We need to put a stop to the internet abuse.
“But this commission certainly identified one of the areas where we can improve, and I hope it kicks off a wave of change in the future.”
Hamilton said that he and F1’s regulatory body, the FIA, were working closely on the issue.
“We fully agree that we need to enhance diversity throughout the sport,” F1 president Stefano Domenicali said of the study, adding, “We have taken steps to address this and will be announcing additional initiatives in the coming days.”
“We want a sport that reflects our enormously varied fan base, which is why F1, the FIA, and all of the teams are working tirelessly to carry out our comprehensive plans to bring good change to the sport.”
“There’s always more to do, and the report will jog your memory about what more has to be done.”
- nico rosberg
- nicolas hamilton