Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Hamilton hopes a woman racer will ‘blow the F1 field away’ one day

2019 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says he hopes Formula 1 will attract competitive women racers in the future.

The world champion spoke about his desire to see the sport become more diverse in a video published by Mercedes. Hamilton has spoken several times about the difficulties young drivers face reaching the sport, particularly those who lack financial support.

“I want to help some youngsters,” said Hamilton, “I want to help change this sport somehow to be an even more diverse sport. I want to encourage the teams to be diverse, I want the sport to be more accessible.

“I was at the FIA Gala and I came across an Asian family and I was like, hey, I thought I was going to be the only brown person here, because that’s how it normally is. It’s funny to laugh at that kind of thing, but I’m in a world where that’s been common for my entire life.

“So to see people of colour in the audience, whether it’s black, Asian, whatever it may be, it’s just great to see diversity slowly creeping in because it is a world that’s open to everyone.”

Hamilton added he wants to see greater diversity in F1 beyond different ethnicities.

“I hope at some stage a young, powerful woman comes through and blows the field away. Wouldn’t that be something special?”

This year Tatiana Calderon became the first woman to race in the modern-era Formula 2 championship, but she does not have enough FIA superlicence points to compete in Formula 1. A new all-female junior championship, W Series, was launched and won by Jamie Chadwick, who is part of Williams’ young driver programme.

The last woman to attempt to qualify for a Formula 1 race was Giovanna Amati, in 1992.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “Hamilton hopes a woman racer will ‘blow the F1 field away’ one day”

  1. It definitely could happen. 2019 has seen some women beat men for top honors in a couple of coed sports. Ultramarathons, horseback riding disciples, and darts to name a few.
    Also it could be argued that women have a slight advantage in motor sports due to their smaller and lighter stature. Also, modern F1 cars don’t need muscles to hustle like in the past.

    1. The Skeptic (@)
      22nd December 2019, 6:08

      One fast way to get there would be to have a trans woman F1 racer.

      1. Maxine Verstappen

  2. enough with the virtue signaling lewis

    1. Mark Kovalainen
      21st December 2019, 19:28

      Maybe it’s not virtue signalling? Maybe he really feels that way? Maybe? Just maybe

      1. The point is not if he’s lying, I’d guess he probably does feel that way. The point is, talk is cheap.

        1. Talk is cheap for someone commenting on a website behind a nickname.
          For high profile famous people, talk isn’t cheap. He’s literally spending social capital to say things, and whether the things he says earn him more capital than it costs him is still up for grabs. But his talk is not cheap.

          1. It does earn a lot more capital than it costs him, which is virtually nothing (seriously, who’s going public against diversity nowadays?). That’s exactly why it’s virtue signaling, even though he’s not lying.

    2. As if it’s not possible that this is what he really thinks? As if your own self-righteous bleating is not in itself a form of virtue signaling?

      While both of you have every right to express your opinion, despite your discomfort in hearing his, I’m far more interested in learning what a person who has actually accomplished something thinks than *you*.

    3. Imagine thinking a minority wanting to see more diversity is virtue signalling.

    4. Hamilton is always like that, that is who he is and he is fairly consistent on it.

      Whether we agree or not with him is fine, but I don’t think he is insincere. He is Lewis Hamilton, six time world champion, he doesn’t need to say anything to become famous.

    5. For sure some of it is virtue signalling but I think there is the half of truth there as well. F1 is very eurocentric sport still and as such most of the people who are at leadership positions in f1 and all 1 related business are white because europe is white. As such I can perfectly understand why he must feel a bit alone because in the places he stays he is always the different looking person. Even if nobody treats him any different I’m sure the “I thought I was going to be the only brown person here” must still be a common feeling for him.

    6. enough with the dumb-ass comments kevin

    7. It’s not “virtue-signalling” IMHO. Lewis is looking at how F1 diversity has increased since he joined, and the answer is not by very much. Monisha Kaltenborn & Claire Williams were/are regularly abused, yet they (and a few female engineers) are the only visible signs of diversity. Hopefully Alex Albon’s Thai heritage and potentially another Japanese driver will help.

      The difficultly is that there are only a handful of top rate F1 drivers and the statistics of 1 of them being female is low. It’s akin to the “Baltimore stockbroker” or Derren Brown’s horseracing “game”. How many kids started karting the same year as Lewis? Where are they now? What proportion were female?

      Simona de Silvestro was probably a once in a generation opportunity for F1 and they blew it. Bernie was rarely blind to opportunity, but he boxed himself in with stupid comments about domestic appliances when he should have been paying Sauber any budget shortfall. How many times did he bail out Eddie Jordan for example?

      Diversity and reliance on fossil fuels are existential threats to F1. It’ll wither on the vine when car manufacturers and new fans are put off by the Championship’s values.

  3. but not until he retires from F1

  4. if Someone said, in 1990 that by 2020 a black driver would be six times world champion no one would believe it.
    The idea of women in F1 seems equally impossible by now, but that could change in a blink, and I hope it does.

    1. Good point.

      1. Very good point @phylyp and @JCCJCC.

    2. @JCCJCC Not only back then, but even in the mid-2000s (the range of 2004-2006), the reaction to that claim would’ve most likely been the same as during the Senna-Prost era.

    3. Yeah, because such an era of domination by a team was unheard of at that time. Take that out of the equation and people would say „sure, why not“ regarding a black driver becoming a multiple world champion. Don’t paint the world worse than it is. There have been Asian F1 drivers since at least 1975 so I’m not sure what Lewis is going on about.

    4. @JCCJCC — i would have believed that in 1990. as Willy T Ribbs was a known quantity by that time, and even if he wasn’t there was a history of black racing drivers in America, right back to the first kart track Adams Raceway in Riverside. With F1 being UK/ Euro based, yes clearly that would’ve been a longer shot and unlikely from that point of view. But, if you said a British-born mixed race afro-caribbean/caucasian driver would be world champion, everyone say it’s possible – if they could get themselves into the game. whereas with females, it’s not about talent, or access. it’s physicality & their lack of strength in the exact place where they need it the most – in the shoulders. that inherent limitation makes it similar to driving with only one hand. and we saw in 2019, with kubica, how that is not the fastest way around a race-track.

  5. Female F1 champion? That would be great for the sport and it’s perfectly possible for it to happen.

  6. I’m convinced women can equal men in F1 cars, but the numbers are still heavily stacked against a female driver reaching F1… too few girls starting out in the lower end, so there’s a far smaller possibility that a talented one will be found.

    Wonder what the male:female ratio of committed, funded, well-supported regional+ level kart racers is… 20:1, 30:1, higher?

    1. yes. the numbers are stacked against female’s, though, if they show promise will rise quicker in the eyes of sponsor’s, etc. just waiting for an opportunist to decide that they’re going trans & start identifying as a female to get up the ladder. then, as hamilton says, it will happen. but only if the regulators let them. either way, some tricky thinking ahead – as a bigger can of worms than women racing cars has been opened — https://www.wired.com/story/the-glorious-victories-of-trans-athletes-are-shaking-up-sports/

    2. I’m convinced women can equal men in F1 cars

      You may be right but it can also be wishful thinking
      The average XX human (meaning biology instead of perceived gender, trans women would be in a more equal footing) is of lighter build and has about 30% less muscular mass than the average XY human. This is an obvious handicap for athletics, you simply cannot have XXs and XYs in the same athletic competion. About F1, I’m not sure. While less weigh can be an advantage, muscle mass (especially dorsal & cervical) may be needed to withstand the high G’s. Calderon has recently stated she is disadvantaged because of that. And F1 pilots are obviously a physically fit bunch, most of them do train a lot. It may take an exceptionally gifted XX human to be able to compete successfully in F1 with a physically average but well-trained XY. Add that to the abysmally lower number of XX racers in the entry categories (karting etc) and I’m afraid the odds are heavily against a XX WDC. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that a promising XX candidate would get lots of sponsorship. Especially (and I hate to say this, but that’s the way the world goes) if she is good-looking.

      1. The Calderon quote is telling. Danica Patrick would work out 6 hours a day to run in the mid-field at best in nascar. against men who aren’t really known for working out, although many of the younger drivers are more fit than in the past. because the plain truth of it all is that race-cars are driven from the shoulders. females do very well in karting because they are generally lighter & have a lower center of gravity. once they hit single-seaters they become ordinary except if they are attractive – which if they are, progresses them further up the ladder. but it more from their marketing ability than results.

  7. Not the best choice of words. :l

  8. What if it is a man that becomes a woman?
    Asking for JK Rowling.

    1. @jimfromus Since being a racing driver is not sex segregated (except for the W Series) that would not make a happeth (Half a cent to you, Jim) difference. It would not matter if a driver swapped their personal pronoun or genitals numerous times; only their driving skills would matter.
      Personally, I am still waiting for the first openly gay F1 driver that we can celebrate as a hero.

      1. Personally, I am still waiting for the first openly gay F1 driver that we can celebrate as a hero.

        Maybe Albon will come out in 2020.

        1. Why Albon? What business is it of yours?

      2. @nickwyatt, whilst you say that “only driving skills would matter”, it has to be said that the experience some drivers have had of the world of motorsport does suggest that gender and sexual persuasion does matter.

        The sportscar driver Danny Watts, who only revealed he was homosexual after he retired from sportscar racing, stated that he’d hidden his sexuality for most of his career because it was pretty common to hear homophobic insults and jokes flying around the paddock: sexist jokes and insults were also fairly routine too.

        Furthermore, there were also some signs that some commercial sponsors might have been more reluctant to sponsor a team with an openly homosexual driver – even if the team might have been happy to accept him, the possibility of being rejected by sponsors created the risk of losing his seat due to a lack of funding.

        Now, he did note that there did seem to be some improvements in mindset towards the end of his career, but his experience does suggest that some prejudices do still seem to be prevalent within the world of motorsport.

        1. @anon Yes, you are quite right. But my assertion that only driving skills would matter was in response to Jim from US’s question about a trans woman and JK Rowling’s statement that she still wouldn’t be a woman.

          There is always a sort of ‘hidden’ discrimination against minorities of any kind in all areas of society. Doesn’t matter if it’s sport, education or business, it’s just human nature and I don’t find it particularly offensive or demeaning: it just ‘is’.
          I completely understand commercial sponsors might shy away too, and I can’t imagine many ‘gar-oriented’ brands wanting to sponsor anyone to do with motorsports either.
          Oh well, it would be nice if it happened.

          1. Sorry, that should have been ‘gay-oriented’.

          2. My personal opinion on this is:
            I love HAM the racer but I find HAM’s woke concepts to be at odds with what these woke people say they really want.

            As a race fan I want to see, and feel I am owed, competitive racing. I could give a rat’s behind what biological gender, sexual preference, or stated gender the racers have. Same goes with their race, religion, or political status. I watch racing for the excitement I feel when the lights go out and the cars go down the track and the racers fight to the finish.

            In the US we are insane about this type of wokeness. It is a competition among the wokest to elect the first female, transgender, bisexual, martian, illegal immigrant mayor regardless of qualification for being mayor.

            And this woke thinking actually detracts from the person’s accomplishments when they achieve their goals. Case in point William Gross, Commissioner of the Boston Massachusetts Police Department. Here is a person that worked their way from patrol officer up through the ranks of the Boston PD. He is an excellent qualified person so his appointment to the position of Commissioner was well earned. Earned being the key word. Yet when he achieved this goal, what was the focus? First African American Police Commissioner in Boston. This makes it sound to those that don’t know the Commissioners background to believe he was given the position and not earned it. Of course the wokies celebrate it but they celebrate it for the wrong reason in my opinion.

            So when a female does become champion, I will be a fan because the racer proved to be the best among all of the drivers and not because of the racer’s gender.

          3. JimfromUS, I absolutely with agree your viewpoint. We need a lot more color-blindness, gender-blindness and pretty much everything-blindness, and judge each individual just on their personal merit. Even if the wokies insist that whatever-blindness is still a form of racism, sexism, homo/transphobia or whatever. Let them say what they please, it is not.
            Only, if you happen to believe that this insanity is mostly an US problem, I can tell you it is not. I can’t say how it is in the rest of the world but in pretty much all of Western Europe it is rampant.

  9. Hamilton is such a good guy, spreads the word about climate change and is trying to get woman into the sport

  10. Unfortunate usage of the word blow there, Hamilton.

    Like really really really in the wrong place.

  11. I believe Hamilton’s words are sincere, but if we look at what kind of support some talented girls get, It’s really hard. Take the example of Gabriela Jílková who used to race against Verstappen, Ocon and Leclerc in lower series and was on par with them – now she can’t get enough money to go on with professional racing. Motorsport is extremely hypocritical in this respect, if you’re don’t have a right nationality or a huge sponsorship, you’re done.

  12. It can only be good for F1 to have female drivers in future.

  13. Hopefully it will happen sooner than later but so much has yet to be done. Calderon didn’t exactly set the world on fire in F2 with being more or less last in the championship. It just highlights that there must be many more women in the ladders to be able to see emerging talents at potential F1 level.

  14. Making the body you are born count for anything except what it can do is simply irrelevant.

  15. Aren’t there a few women in American series like Indycar and NASCAR? It’s just a matter of time. There definitely needs to be more opportunities and more support for them to get in and to rise up, I can only guess that it is a highly sexist sport from within, whether you realise it or not, it’s a male dominated world and that certainly won’t help and will artificially keep woman out.

    I also worry about how the average motorsports fan will treat them. It is bound to be dreadful. Just imagine a talented woman F1 driver, just as fast as her peers, but she has a season like Romain Grosjean when he was making huge mistakes and crashing on his own under SC. I imagine it would give a whole bunch of misogynists all the excuse they’d need to decry the woman driver and try to make out that woman just aren’t up to the task. She’d get absolute hell, even worse than Romain has had. That won’t be fun.

    1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
      22nd December 2019, 14:29

      Indycar names I can remember:
      Danica Patrick, Simona de Silvestro, Sarah Fisher, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge, Pippa Mann … and further back Lyn St James, Janet Guthrie …
      All of them on merit imho. Patrick has an Indycar win to her credit (Motegi 2008).

      1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
        22nd December 2019, 18:11

        Michelle Mouton’s results in rallying speak for themselves too.

    2. I would imagine the average fan would give her stick for those sort of mistakes; as they would any driver making the same errors. And for every misogynist I expect the same number of white knights trying to defend her honour. Both as bad as each other in their own way.

  16. A bit of a deceiving headline isn’t it??? I read the article but it seems Lewis was talking more about diversity than women racer here.

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