Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 driver and double world champion, has added his voice to a growing chorus of sports stars calling for action on diversity in motorsport. Speaking at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton said that he believed the sport could learn from other areas when it comes to inclusion and diversity.
Lewis Hamilton is soccer’s most famous superstar and the current Formula One World Champion. He is also the most successful British athlete in history. He recently addressed the issue of diversity in the sport, and his words on the subject were both wise and inspirational. He said that his greatest achievement in life, and the one that would most enhance his legacy, would be to see the sport of motor racing become a more diverse sport.
Two young people, Natalie and Elikem, spoke to Lewis Hamilton about diversity in Formula 1.
Formula One racing great Lewis Hamilton says helping to diversify motorsport is the most important thing he has done in his career.
Hamilton said he hopes the results of a study he commissioned to improve minority representation in the industry will be part of my legacy.
The report was prepared in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
I look at my youth and I want things to be different and I want to be part of that change, Hamilton said.
If I can change that, it would be the most valuable thing to me.
The Hamilton Commission report was prepared by a number of experts in the fields of education, motorsports and diversity.
The study found that there were wider social issues affecting opportunities for black students in the UK motorsport sector, alongside specific barriers within the sector itself.
Seven-time Formula One world champion Mercedes Hamilton said: We recognize that the motorsports industry is not the only one that needs to change; we have found that black youth continue to face systemic problems at all levels of the educational system.
Hamilton established the committee last year.
Why do I need a report?
Hamilton began working on the commission after the 2019 Formula One season, when he noticed the lack of representation of ethnic minorities in team photos.
He announced it last summer, following the global outcry against racial discrimination that followed the killing of unarmed African-American George Floyd by U.S. police.
Hamilton, F1’s only black driver, said: This question has always been asked: What do you want my legacy to be? I remember maybe not thinking about it.
When I was younger, I wanted to be considered one of the best drivers in Formula 1, but over time I have achieved success, and the joy of that is always short-lived.
I thought so: My God, there must be a reason why I slipped through the cracks and not only got into this sport, but am at the top, and what am I supposed to do with all these titles?
The universe works in mysterious ways. In late 2019, I had the idea for the job and we started working on it, and then the story came along with George and all that movement, and it coincided with what we were trying to do, and I really felt like I had found my purpose.
I want to be remembered not just for winning championships, which is great in itself, but for really helping people, changing the industry and attitudes.
We’re all the same. We all have the same blood. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be just as diverse as the world around us. Move the needle and it can be the size of a whole continent at a great distance. This could be huge.
Hamilton has not raced in Formula 1 since the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
What are the recommendations?
Among the barriers preventing blacks from succeeding in motorsports, the report found evidence of overt racism and lack of attention to the issue, as well as practical and logistical obstacles for minority candidates.
One of the issues raised was that none of the Formula One teams have data on the ethnicity of their employees. Rhys Morgan, director of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the report’s authors, said the one per cent figure for black employees in Formula One was an estimate.
The report points out that F1’s recruitment practices tend to favour students from a select group of high-achieving universities, as well as a number of problems that impede the progression of black students, particularly at schools in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects (Voice).
Hamilton said he wanted it to be an action committee.
The report, published on Tuesday ahead of the British Grand Prix, makes 10 recommendations on access to hospitals.
- Formula One teams and the industry as a whole are called upon to adopt a charter for diversity and inclusion.
- Expand access to a select group of universities, including graduate and postgraduate programs, beyond normal enrollment.
- To provide a basis for addressing the factors that contribute to the high rates of exclusion of black pupils from schools.
- New approaches to increasing the number of black students studying the core subjects that lead to engineering careers
- Establish scholarship programs for black students to study engineering and related disciplines.
Racist remarks against English players are devastating
Hamilton said he believes education is the key to solving the problem of lack of representation in motorsports and racism in society at large.
He said the racist remarks directed at England players Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jaydon Sancho after they missed a penalty in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final were appalling to see, but show that as a nation we still have a long, long way to go.
I think it has something to do with education, Hamilton said. I grew up in a system where you don’t know where you came from, and I’m just finding that out now.
People ask me: Where are you from? I was born in the UK, but half my family is from the West Indies, but I didn’t know the history of the West Indies.
And I dug deep to find out where my family in Africa came from.
It is an educational activity, which should definitely be included in the [school] curriculum.
We need more support from social media platforms; we made a stop at the beginning of the year, but that’s not enough. We need to stop this violence online.
But this committee has certainly drawn attention to an area where we can improve, and I hope that it will create a ripple effect of efforts to make further changes.
Hamilton said he is working closely with F1 and the world governing body, the FIA, on the issue.
According to Stefano Domenicali, president of Formula 1, the report is comprehensive and impressive: We fully agree that diversity in sport should be increased. We have taken steps to address this and will announce further measures in the coming days.
We want the sport to be representative of the enormous diversity of our fan base. That is why F1, the FIA and all the teams are working hard to implement our detailed plans to bring about positive changes across the sport.
There is still work to be done and the report will stimulate reflection on the measures to be taken.
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