Racist bullying at school made me “tougher” – Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says the racist bullying he suffered when he was young made him a “tougher” person.

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Comment of the day

Is it time Formula One took the threat from Formula E more seriously?

About Porsche looking to supply Formula E: It will continue to attract more and more manufacturers. Because FE relevant to the scenario in auto industry today, with electric cars and self-driving technology, Formula One is not. People could argue about F1’s power unit, but any manufacturer who’s interested in hybrids would look to WEC, which everyone knows is much more technologically free and advanced.

With Audi, Renault, Citroen, Jaguar, McLaren already aboard FE, Porsche, Red Bull, Williams, Mahindra and a few others interested in supplying batteries, F1 can only dream of this.

And the current situation just worsens the problem. Ecclestone wants to have V12s or V10s back, there is no road map as to where it’s headed after 2020. And by that time, FE will already be punching a hole in the atmosphere. Why would anyone then want to invest so much in an F1 team which would have no relevance whatsoever to them?

Also Liberty taking over just compounds the problem- these people don’t seem to know a thing about F1 when talking about having more races. The teams are already stretched out to their limits.

Coming years will see more manufacturers flock away to FE, especially with the Roborace, and F1 will be left with nothing but greedy idiots in the form of Mercedes and Ferrari, running ten cars each.

I believe then the only way F1 can be saved would be to go full electric, maybe with all wheel drive systems and 1000-plus horsepower post-2020. We knew electric cars were around the corner somewhere in the future, now it’s that time. That’s the only way to attract manufacturers and have good competition and not become another spec series. Else grand prix won’t be so “grand” anymore.
Mrugank Dongre (@Theaeroguy)

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54 comments on “Racist bullying at school made me “tougher” – Hamilton”

  1. I disagree with comment of the day, for several reasons. First of all it’s clear that there is more investment in FE than F1 from many manufacturers. This is expected as FE was set up to develop a specific technology for the future, whereas F1 is not about that to such an extreme extent. The regulations have managed to gain (more) interest from Honda and Renault, amongst others who have also been keeping an eye on it. The cost of it is obviously a lot more in F1, which is nothing new, so naturally there will be less companies actually getting onboard with it, but that’s to be expected.

    Secondly, Formula One will attract interest from people and teams, due to the size of its following (which is dwindling but it’s easy to forget that it’s still absolutely huge compared to Formula E), and also for its financial rewards and brand exposure. This is shown by the American team that has just come in.

    Formula E was set up, as I mentioned, by the FIA just to develop the technology. I’m sure the series will stick around and continue to develop it, but I don’t see it competing with F1. When the technology and the time is ripe, F1 will adapt and begin to make use of it. The FIA won’t allow FE to compete with F1.

    Finally, on that point about Liberty wanting to expand the calendar further, I’m sure if they really wanted to, it could be done. A few years ago nobody thought 21 races was going to be feasible but here we are. They got the logistics sorted out. The teams will be against it because they don’t feel it benefits them enough to justify the hassle, but if such a calendar expansion were to go ahead we can be certain it would be very well planned. If there’s one thing Bernie and his team have always done a fantastic job of, it’s sorting out the logistics of F1. I’m sure whoever succeeds him will do the same.

    1. @strontium I’d add that it’s current F1 that’s not looking as a good prospect for car manufacturers. Back in the early 2000, F1 wasn’t relevant to the car industry either (it’s never been strictly relevant), but somehow being part of it just made sense, maybe from a marketing point of view. I assume Renault took a lot of pride being the first main car manufacturer to win a World Championship. That’s a big marketing plus.

      It’s not just manufacturers, sponsors too. Just looking at pictures from the 80’s or 90’s… even teams like Footwork or Minardi had a good number of sponsors. And the McLaren, Ferrari, Williams drivers had around 30 sponsors stitched in their overalls. Nowadays, not even McLaren can find a main sponsor…

      NASCAR has no relevance to the car industry either in terms of its technology, yet it attracts 3 manufacturers, and a huuuuge number of sponsors. Even the races have their BIG sponsor name.

      It’s not a matter of making F1 more relevant to the world. It’s about making F1 more exciting, more watchable, easier to access. THEN people will turn their tellies on again, they will attend races and buy marchandise. And THEN manufacturers will be interested in competing in order to make themselves visible again.

      1. Ditto this comment. It’s not necessarily about the coverage or some gimmicks to keep people interested. The main issue is the three points you mention – more exciting, more watchable, easier to access. Having F1 around the world almost exclusively behind pay walls in a couple years time is not going to help.

        1. Hopefully F1 management will realise that providing free access to the F1 app will drive people to watch F1.
          Give the fans the data and online facilities we want and we will also watch.

    2. “the technology and the time is ripe, F1 will adapt and begin to make use of it. The FIA won’t allow FE to compete with F1”

      @strontium..you are right, FIA will not allow FE to compete with F1. If and when the time is right, FE will merge with F1. That will happen when cars powered by hydrocarbons are confined to the “classic” section.

    3. ‘F1 not looking good for manufacturers’ yet we have Renault and Honda entering in the last few years. It’s simply a fact it’s expensive and you need to be a big boy in the automotive world to play with the big boys. Jaguar is not a big boy and thus entering Formule E is very logic and good for the image of the brand. Mercedes however does not care for a pathetic series as FE, their revenue annually is a hundred times that of Jaguar. They can afford to create a Formule One team from scratch and invest in this bottomless pit.

      Realistically the only manufacturers that could enter Formule One today would be Toyota, BMW or one of the VAG group, but not by coincidence two of these have plenty of activity in the WEC, and the third one is rumoured to enter.

      Bernie must’ve done some very persuasive work to keep Renault in F1 as a LMP1 programme would’ve made much more sense. And if Liberty Media will start to scrap in Ferrari’s extra cash flow who knows what will happen to them too.

      The fact teams like Force India and Williams are only so far off Mercedes as they are now is a testimony to the hard work the privateer teams have done every single year. What Red Bull has been doing since 2009 should be respected by everyone in the paddock because all they are is just a better funded privateer.

      1. @strontium – “Secondly, Formula One will attract interest from people and teams, due to the size of its following (which is dwindling but it’s easy to forget that it’s still absolutely huge compared to Formula E), and also for its financial rewards and brand exposure.”

        I think this is a fallacy one should avoid. Just because F1 currently has more followers does not mean that the future will continue. As you note, support has fallen off. Quite a lot actually. While FE may not overtake F1 in terms of supporters, F1 could still end up a shell of its former self if it doesn’t find ways of sustaining itself (whatever that will mean).

        One need only look at the music industry who, for years, avoided any technology post-CD. Digital media upended much of the old model. And while legacy players in the industry still exist, they are not what they were. F1 needs to find ways to avoid becoming a dinosaur. The move to HD and 4k helps, but the fact that they continue to pursue pay TV rather than offering standalone online packages is baffling. The longer they use gimmicks to try to fix serious competition issues and refuse to try new distribution models, the farther they will slide.

        Formula E may never overtake F1 in terms of popularity, but that isn’t the issue. The issue is that F1 could be in danger of allowing itself to become irrelevant—even in terms of entertainment/sport.

      2. @xtwl
        Renault ditched their F1 team after the Flávio and Alonso crash gate incident in favour of concentrating on getting RedBull dominating the championship with Renault power, which they achieved. Renault only came back because of the hammering redbull gave them over their v6 hybrid. They don’t want the negative publicity.
        Jaguar used to be an F1 team.
        Toyata used to be an F1 team
        BMW used to pair with Sauber as an F1 team.

        VAG are the only major manufacturer who have not been in F1.
        Williams and Force India are using Merc power which is why they are ahead of Toro Rosso and McLaren.

  2. An all electric F1 car with 1000hp?

    It seems that the author of COTD doesn’t understand the current state of battery technology, or its realistic rate of advancement in the foreseeable future.

    Formula E cars currently have about 250 hp available during the race, and last just 25 minutes before the mid race swap.

    Battery tech is improving at a few percent per year – nothing like rapidly enough to make what is proposed feasible within our generation.


    1. @tdog

      You’re absolutely right. Improvements in Lithium Ion Battery technology is going to plateau (if it already hasn’t). The next generation of batteries are already in development, Aluminium Graphene Oxygen batteries will probably be able to deliver such volumes of energy.

      Hybrid technology has a long way to go yet. Technically, it is still in its infancy. Battery powered vehicles will become the mainstream at some point…but that point is still some years away.

      1. Hybrid technology has a long way to go yet. Technically, it is still in its infancy. Battery powered vehicles will become the mainstream at some point…but that point is still some years away.

        I don’t agree at all battery powered vehicles are the future. There is much more to be gained from hydrogen.

        1. @xtwl

          I used to believe the same. The concept of hydrogen was almost a no brainer, but the top players have more or less dropped it.

          As attractive as hydrogen is as a fuel, the biggest issue that exist with it is the cost transporting and storing it, which was deemed too inefficient. This could well change in years to come, when exotic materials become more accessible.

          I dont think Battery technology is a longer term (100+ years) solution, but it could temporarily slot into the mainstream after the combustion engine is confined to the history books while we wait for a cheap fuel cell (possibly hydrogen?)

          1. Hydrogen is not a fuel, it’s a battery. Hydrogen, while plentiful in the universe (Stars), is not plentiful on earth. On earth it is manufactured from water by an endothermic reaction (hydrolysis). That energy of reaction is “stored” in the hydrogen, and when the energy is desired, e.g., to drive a motor, the hydrogen is converted back into water, releasing the energy.

        2. @xtwl @jaymenon10 I think there are some problems to solve before before thinking about hydrogen cars. For example there is no infrastructure and network while electricity is well established. The cost of a new technology is huge and would not be competitive with gas-powered vehicles. Hydrogen is also highly explosive and a big one on the highway would be a carnage. But maybe one day we’ll have that, water emitting vehicles, that’d be cool!

          1. @spoutnik Surely there are problems, but none that cannot be fixed. No infrastructure? Build it, same as has been done (in small amounts) for electric vehicles. Cost of tech? Invest in the future as batteries are a short term solution, not a long term plan. Highly explosive? So is petrol, and electricity is hardly danger free as well.

            Chris Harris mentioned it beautifully; Men can do amazing things but only when we’re pushed into a corner. Otherwise we won’t bother.

          2. @xtwl indeed. Petrol fields depletion. That’s the only way it can move forwards currently. Or laws but I doubt anyone will make such a bold move.

        3. @xtwl I agree, environmentally, technologically and possibly in end user costs, yes, hydrogen is better. Eco friendly and suitable to everyday use with the possibility of lowering costs if the market grows, but the markets are the problem. Hydrogen doesn’t sell. Electric sounds better, marketing wise, it’s dumb really, after you learn that electric cars have a higher carbon footprint than diesel cars whilst most electricity is not produced from “green sources”, which end up filling the blood lithium (and other minerals) batteries, which are fuelling civil war in African countries. People criticize hydrogen for it’s potential hazards but current lithium battery technology is also explosive, in the end it’s all about energy, the more energy you have concentrated in one area the bigger are the risks, as the batteries reach significant capacities the bigger are the risk, risks that can be reduced by new cathode and anode tech but anyhow I haven’t heard of an hydrogen car exploding so, it’s safe to say neither technology has already went bang.

      2. batteries are not the future, fuel cells are. Gasoline/Diesel has an energy density that is far far superior to anything batteries offer today. And fuel cells are not limited to hydrogen. Batteries keep people tied to the grid, they are nothing different than what gasoline offers consumers. Batteries are still connected to large wasteful industrial sized energy plants. True energy independence and sustainability will not be realized until people think outside the box and CHOOSE alternatives that benefit them as a consumer/individual. Competition keeps things honest, and F1 is a case study in how people make bad choices and how little sobriety comes in to the picture.

        Batteries are not a bad thing, but by themselves, they don’t offer consumers/individuals an advantage that fuel cells do. Imagine small nuclear powered batteries that last longer than their owners :) Imagine SAFE nuclear power made ubiquitous, and how that would completely reshape the political climate of this world. SAFE nuclear power is much more interesting than batteries. Fuel cells are the stepping stones.

        Don’t get me wrong, batteries are not bad, but they are nothing very different than what exists currently in the form of petrol.

    2. This is an important point. The idea for an all electric racing series is good. But it isn’t really automobile racing for me, when the car itself by design can not drive the entire distance of the race.
      Swapping the car mid-race and having to fly double the amount of vehicles around the world to each track entirely defeats the purpose of using an eco-friendly engine technology.

      And even IF Formula E in the years to come might actually develop to the point where they can finish a race with one of their cars, why does F1 have to follow? Who says we can’t have ICEs against eletric against, against Hybrids at some point?

    3. And this raises one problem with FE that isn’t mentioned in the COTD.

      The battery is totally spec, there may be lots of manufactorers tendering for it, but there will be just one company providing it.

      If I could change one thing about Formula E (which I otherwise love btw) it would be to allow multiple battery providers to encourage more competition and development.

    4. @tdog I don’t know much about how batteries work, so I agree what you say is very reasonable and true. However, very often when technology is developed, very often it only takes a sudden breakthrough in the technology for it to suddenly develop to the next level rapidly. Obviously it may not happen like that, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility

  3. Possible the best interview with Hamilton I’ve read, completely out of the F1 marketing envelope and explains a lot about he’s gone about ‘stuff’ – like racism – over his career. Excellent.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      25th September 2016, 0:49

      Didn’t he get some from Spanish fans at the 2008 Barcelona test?

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        25th September 2016, 2:37

        They weren’t fans. They were cretins.

        1. Racist bullying no different to any other type of bullying !! Most people have been bullied at some time in their life whether it was at school or in the work place . Deal with it and move on most of us have.

          1. He did move on. He is a multi millionaire 3 time F1 champion unlike most of us.

          2. And after my own troubled childhood from bullying and other unsociable behaviour from others, you can go boil your head. This isn’t a cold you just shrug off or a bad meal you send back. As others have pointed out, he showed them by rising from a poor working class background to winning most of the formula racing series and then 3 times F1 world champion with a good chance of getting no.4 soon.

          3. Disgusting comment so you are literally saying every person who has been subject to racism and racist remarks in the world should just “get over it?” you are one truely pathetic human being.

            I have always felt a small proportion of the hate towards Hamilton has stemmed from a minority of fans who just can’t deal with someone of different ethnicity dominating their sport and winning championships. I think honestly because F1 for a very long time had little diversity at the top end of the grid it unfortunately attracted some very unpleasant fans to the sport.

          4. @sonia54

            Yep, a lot of people go through adversity in life. And if we ever make enough of ourselves that people care what to say we might get asked about it in an interview and possibly help inspire someone else going through problems to keep strong and see what can be achieved.

            And people tend to only care what you have to say when that message is a positive one, or if it is negative it best be funny! No one cares what someone just being negative and bitter has to say unless it’s funny.

          5. Not only he went on and achieved all of his professional dreams while enjoying life, which is incredibly hard, but now he is doing exactly what he should do to fight racism: using his big celebrity status to speak up and to provide a model to kids who nowadays suffer with the same things

          6. “And after my own troubled childhood from bullying and other unsociable behaviour from others, you can go boil your head.”


    2. one doesn’t get himself tough by transforming his body into a printed circuit, or wanna go partying when he wants man.

      1. Does that also includes, Alonso, Kimi, Button, Kmag, Ricciardo, I mean they all have tattoos as well?

        Should he party when given permission, by Toto, Niki, Paddy and you?

  4. Huh?? What?

  5. “magisterial”?

    I’m all for cultivating and utilizing a highly developed vocabulary, but “perfectly magisterial” to describe how a race car driver drove in a race? Might my own imagination be not vivid enough to picture how a man on the royal throne wearing a crown and regal robe with scepter in hand would be piloting a race car around a hot, sweaty, grueling course in a gritty enough fashion for a couple of hours to win a race against twenty-one other fierce competitors.

    Maybe it’s just me…

    1. Coming from a different background, I have a different connotation. In medieval times, magister was a title for university teacher, someone with authority, thorough knowledge and dignity (insert your own joke about your calculus teacher). So for me it seems like calling Rosberg’s performance “professorial”, although I suspect that there is no such word really :-).

      In my country, in an attempt to through away connotations with the overthrown communist regime, they replaced university degrees with supposedly traditional ones, so our MSc graduates are now called “magisters”. This is supposed to refer to the 670+ years long tradition of our premier university, but (talk about cultural shift through centuries) for most people it actualy means “a pharmacist”. This change happened shortly before our graduation and were were not amused :-).

      1. Perhaps it is I who needed this vocabulary lesson. The word does relate more to magistrate than to majesty after all. Thank you for the enlightenment.

        From vocabulary.com:

        “A person who is magisterial can be distinguished and grand, or possibly just conceited and bossy. You will learn a lot if you listen to a magisterial presentation of early American history.
        The Latin word for teacher is magister, so think of magisterial as describing a person with the great authority of a teacher or learned person. It can also mean related to the office of magistrate — think of magisterial documents or inquiries into a matter. If, however, someone calls you magisterial, he or she may think you are a bit pompous. It will irritate you if a person speaks to you in a magisterial tone!”

      2. Perhaps it is I who needed this vocabulary lesson. The word does relate more to magistrate than to majesty after all. Thank you for the enlightenment.

    2. @bullmelo probably comes from the latin word magister = master. Non-existing word but still understandable :-)

      1. @spoutnik – As noted above I am the one in need of a vocabulary lesson. And imagine receiving it on an F1 site! :-)

    3. @bullmello


      The only reason anybody knows this word is because there’s a football commentator, who’s name escapes me, who screams this word whenever Messi does anything.

  6. I, can’t come to like Lewis. To race a go kart. You need money. Which means he already luckier than many, let alone that he grew up in Britain.

    So when I read interviews talking as if he was hard done by, No Lewis. Between that and him happily talking about his greatness. It’s jarring.

    Humility, he has not.

    1. Maybe you should read up on his life story and the lengths his father went through so as to find his dream.

      So every kid in Britain has had an easy life growing up?

      I don’t think you have any idea what humility is.

    2. This, I think, is why I find that interview so weird and why I don’t…

      …feel comfortable about it, for lack of a better term. You don’t need humility to race in F1. Nico certainly has none and few drivers do (and those that do are all the better for it), but Lewis is just showy. Not pretentious, I don’t think, but showy and loud. As it were.

    3. He’s not saying he’s hard done by, he’s saying that compared to most other families who supported a child’s karting career, his had less money available to them, so didn’t have well equiped trailers etc. My friends were karting at the same time, and he’s right, at most meetings most of competitors were rich kids with a set up that looked like a mini F1 team, while a few others were clearly scraping by with parts and equipment they’d managed to beg, steal, or borrow to keep their old karts running. At one meeting we went to my friend’s dad ended up jumping into a biffa bin to liberate some tires that been thrown away, such was the disparity of wealth between the haves and have nots.
      Maybe try removing the chip from your shoulder, it’s clearly interfering with your ability to read.

      1. Plus a billion my friend – I was there too and one with a roof rack rather than a transporter.

        It really annoys when people with zero experience or appreciation start spouting about things they assume but actually know nothing about.

        Karting is really expensive and some of the really good ones live off the seriously wealthy ones scraps.

        And still beat them.

    4. He’s not exactly expecting people to get out their tiny violins, but the guy comes from a bone stock working class background where his dad invested everything he had in his boy and he succeeded in a discipline full of trust fund kids. I don’t think he ever forgets how lucky he is to have that amazing a parent to be that dedicated and hard working to provide a rather privileged life to him.

      Hamilton is a success story. When he talks about his background he’s not making excuses and hoping he gets sympathy. I’m pretty sure when your net worth has that many zeros you stop giving a hoot about sympathy.

      But he’s sharing his story in the hope of inspiring others that if you want something passionately enough, you don’t let anything stop you. I never quite understand the frankly bitter comments Hamiltons interviews receive, where he’s been asked about something because he’s a person of note that has something to say that people want to actually hear.

    5. Not surprising you don’t like him since you require humility from him, and he’s a grand prix racing driver.

      A fine example of what he’s had to deal with, in fact. I never hear the humility card being played with the others.

    6. Ironically, the article bears the title “I don’t need your validation.”

      But I think that flew over your head :-P

  7. You ready for the Vietnamese Gp?

    Heineken (One of F1’s global partners/sponsors) are pushing Liberty media to make it happen. Are discussing a street race somewhere in Ho Chi Minh City.

    1. I’m growing tired of street circuits.

      It’s ok as a novelty in a season, but that’s it. Constant endless concrete walls covered in sponsor logos surrounded by some old buildings. Yawn.

  8. Forgot to comment that I loved that Hamilton article by the way. Hugely inspirational. Honestly I never really liked the guy from what I knew going in to this era with Mercedes, I was firmly rooting for Rosberg. But he’s totally blown me away with his insight over the last few years. Huge fan now, really hope he’s right and succeeds with the music career, can’t wait to hear his stuff.

  9. So Lewis had to deal with racists. Now racists have to deal with him… :D

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