Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2020

Hamilton has ‘hastened’ F1’s push for greater diversity

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 planning a “major announcement” on its aims to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the near future.

The move has come partly in response to Lewis Hamilton’s public support for the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for the sport to encourage greater participation by those from non-traditional backgrounds.

The sport’s director of strategy and business development Yath Gangakumaran told this week’s FIA EConference about their plans.

“In a couple of weeks’ time you will be seeing some pretty major announcements from us more broadly around diversity and inclusion which again fits into this wider ‘how can we make Formula 1 have a purpose outside of entertainment?’ [topic],” he told a seminar titled ‘Racing for a Purpose’.

“Any organisation or person that has millions of people following them – we have over 500 million fans around the world – has a duty in many ways to highlight any imperfections that are that are innate within their area.

“What Lewis has done really has helped to hasten some of the change that we want to see within Formula 1. And as I mentioned in a couple of weeks’ time you’ll start to here a bit more publicly what we’re going to do.”

Sportspeople like Hamilton and footballers Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling have shown “the days of sports stars being told to ‘stick to their sports’, as it were, are over,” said Gangakumaran.

“You just see what Rashford has done in the last couple of days. Raheem Sterling pushing for more ethnic minority representation on sports boards. Obviously Lewis as well.

“I think this is going to be a trend that will continue and ultimately if you want to be on the right side of history it’s important that you are part of that trend and that you have purpose central to what do you do as an organisation.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 21 comments on “Hamilton has ‘hastened’ F1’s push for greater diversity”

    1. If it were anything else rather than F1 I would be shouting “Great! About time!” and so on…

      But as it is F1, which is run by woodpeckers, and is known for its radical not-even-a-minute-thought-over “decisions”, I bet the announcements will be a complete disaster.

    2. What does it mean to “push diversity”? Shouldn’t it just come naturally, without obstructions? Positive discrimination is just another form of discrimination, also sounds like some humiliating sort of charity. As for F1 itself, that’s not the world of equal chances, but an elitist sport where most of us would never be welcome despite our talent or dedication. Diversity amongst pay drivers? Fine…

      1. Totally agree. I really like that the women in F1 like f.i. the strategist at Red Bull Hannah Schmitz are just there because they are good and not because they have been chosen because of their body. Also that no one makes a fuss or even mentions it. This is what really works.

        Next will probably come a Chinese driver, and I hope it’s the same there. Imagine if there’s a suspicion the next ‘diverse’ driver is chosen because of their body, and how that will not lead to long lasting respect and acceptance, but the opposite.

    3. Well the big difference between Lewis and Marcus Rashford is, that Rashford is a leader that grabbed the bull by the horns and organized something himself. The letter he published was open, non offending and to the point without accusations towards people or colleagues directly. It was a humane letter about a humane problem.

      When Lewis communicates it comes with a sense of entitlement, narcissism and accusations. It is always talk and no action.

      1. Too right, I’m a big Lewis fan, but he’s failed dismally compared to Rashford, who deserves every encouragement to continue addressing society’s solvable problems. Lewis is just whining, not impressed.

        As for F1 encouraging diversity, what on earth does that mean in practice? Patronising, divisive and ultimately ineffectual is what I’m expecting.

      2. What you describe is Lewis doing things that are convenient to Lewis.
        I don’t consider donating a day worth of salary action, I consider it buying an indulgence.
        I don’t consider screaming that when everyone should be a vegan, when you fly your dogs in private jets across the globe for them to go on holiday by themselves, something deserving of praise.
        And someone that has been whinging for 2 year that there are no karting options for the underpriviliged, and hasn’t setup a kartschool, I consider a hypocrite.
        Lewis isn’t part of the solution, Lewis is part of the problem.

    4. I don’t think most fans understand just how uncomfortable f1 can be for people of color. The first time I was lucky enough to attend a race was the Spanish GP in 2008. I was ( and still am) a huge Alonso fan. But it was horrible among the fans. It took me a while to gather up the enthusiasm to attend another race. Luckily over the years things have gotten way better. But I’m still careful. Recently I wanted to go to Austria but my wife convinced me not to. She reminded me of my experience in Spain in 2008. Apparently the Orange army can be rowdy and though there’s no reports of racism, it better just to stay away. There is a problem. But I’m hopeful f1 fans can rise above it. I was at Valencia in 2012, the Spanish fans there were great. So I know it’s possible

      1. @suwperman wow man, wow. Dont even know what to say to this.

    5. F1, in and of itself, can probably play a role, but any initiative would be a bit pointless if it doesn’t start at the lower levels.

    6. While F1 was doing their virtual Grands prix, that was the perfect opportunity for F1 to showcase diversity, but it couldn’t be bothered. Not one of the simulator drivers was a women. Isn’t that odd? Why would F1 exclude half the worlds’ population? Is “Grid Girls” how F1 thinks of women? Only clever enough to hold a stick with a sign on it?
      Now the FIA has decided they want “more diversity” in F1. So how’s that going to work? Looking at the most recent example where equality could very easily have been applied, one would have expected between 8 and 12 women to have been included included in the last virtual Grand prix, but that didn’t happen.
      And why does it take “several weeks” to think about this?
      So no, I’m not expecting much from the FIA, at least not until some Government body demands F1 moves into the 21st Century or it will face substantial fines.

      1. One easy and relatively low cost thing is for the FIA to get in touch with some Karting tracks around LA, Chicago and New Jearsy, hold some competitions with the fastest 1 or 2 drivers fr ok m each area getting a Formula 4 test.

    7. I hope this is not about race but more about race.

      Kart sponsorship for the least fortunate talents would be great.

    8. Neil (@neilosjames)
      17th June 2020, 19:56

      I think F1’s ‘diversity problem’ is rather more difficult to address than that of mass-participation sports, due to the very broad-based pyramid it sits on top of and the dearth of non-white-majority countries with serious grassroots racing scenes.

      A kid starts off in casual karting, moves to semi-serious, then serious karting, then Formula Ford or Renault, a National F3, International F3, maybe F2, and F1. To get to the end of that road you need talent for driving, high fitness, the right mental character, emotional and logistical support from family, focus, willingness to sacrifice other things… and massive financial backing, way beyond the means of all but the most wealthy, or those able to secure sponsors.

      If (number out of thin air but it sounds about right) 2,000 British kids get as far as semi-serious karting, one or two of them might end up in F1. And semi-serious karting is probably the stage you’d need to kick off a programme to increase participation diversity at.

      So using UK demographics (the UK being one of the few countries with a serious grassroots racing scene, which kids would need to progress through) for those 2,000… assuming perfect equality of opportunity (not currently present), 1,740 would be white, 160 would be Asian, 60 would be black, 40 would be mixed race. Even if you make a huge investment and address discrimination issues to create that perfect equality of opportunity, the kids from that cohort who make it to F1 are still overwhelmingly likely to be white.

      Same if you did it in the other countries with big grassroots scenes – France, Germany, Italy, USA.

      I like to think it would work, and such an approach would certainly increase the probability of a more diverse grid, but there’d be no guarantees.

    9. Isn’t F1 diverse enough? I see a diversity in nationalities, language, culture and upbringing when I look at today’s line up.
      If Lewis is going to be blind to everything but skin colour that’s his problem.

      1. Bingo!

        Forced diversity is just as sexist, racist or any other ist as none at all.

        To give someone a leg up based on the colour of their skin or sex is unfair and actually insulting to that person.

      2. We’ve got an Hispanic driver and a Thai driver as well. I’d think the lack of women is a bigger issue than diversity of races.

    10. Bring on the quota system? Equal representation based on the racial percentages of the global population?

      1. Please tell me this is sarcasm…

    11. This is a political issue, it is not an F1 issue, Lewis Hamilton, at one point he is right, and at another not, in my view, Lewis has the “agenda” very close, it is, “the super political correctness ”,… yes, as a society we have to improve, to move forward, in a good way, I agree, as a society sometimes we have attitudes that we can improve, yes,… but when someone wants to impose a way of thinking on me, I always take a step aside, I don’t like it… there is something in me that bothers me about “political correctness”, I may be wrong, but I’m not going to apologize for that, I simply have the right to think differently, or not agree on some issues.
      Lewis wants to take this issue to an extreme, and I do not agree, what Marcus Rashford did, I think it is different, I like that, he raises an issue, he puts action and I fully support him, it is correct, Lewis’s is a I whine, it is sticking to an agenda of political correctness that I do not share. Lewis you are a great F1 driver.

    12. Trevor Sworn
      18th June 2020, 16:08

      What does Lewis have to say about Bernie’s admiration of Hitler?


    13. NeverElectric
      19th June 2020, 4:07

      F1 held races in apartheid South Africa.
      Tells you everything about it, really.

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