Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2020

F1 insists it is committed to improving diversity following Hamilton criticism

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 has insisted it is committed to improving diversity within the sport following criticism of its efforts by Lewis Hamilton after yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The six-times world champion said the sport has made “no progress” since launching its ‘#WeRaceAsOne’ campaign before the season began, following widespread anti-racism protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May. Hamilton said he intends to speak to Formula 1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey, and FIA president Jean Todt, as he believes the sport is not doing enough.

A Formula 1 spokesperson told RaceFans today: “Ending racism and increasing diversity and inclusion in F1 is a clear priority and something everyone supports.

“We set out our plans for diversity and inclusion last November and have in recent weeks announced additional plans to create a task force to tackle these issues and a foundation with over $1 million [£790,000] already donated to create apprenticeships and job opportunities for under-represented groups.”

The initial $1 million was provided by Carey. Todt later announced the FIA Innovation Fund will contribute a further €1 million (£910,000) to the ‘#WeRaceAsOne’ foundation for improving diversity in motor sport.

“We want to make lasting change and are acting to do this,” the spokesperson added.

F1 drivers again made a joint gesture of support for efforts to end racism ahead of the race. However several arrived late to the ceremony, which had been relocated from the starting grid to the pit lane. Plans for how drivers would take a stand last weekend were discussed at the drivers’ briefing on Friday, where the subject was raised by Formula 1 representatives.

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Author information

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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43 comments on “F1 insists it is committed to improving diversity following Hamilton criticism”

  1. Just end racism already. All livery should be black and team can log a protest to stewards if they think other team livery is not black enough. Schedule kneeling on every session, race or practice and every driver who refuse to kneel must be DSQ. Just write the rule and show some some leadership.

    1. Just end racism already. All livery should be black and team can log a protest to stewards if they think other team livery is not black enough. Schedule kneeling on every session, race or practice and every driver who refuse to kneel must be DSQ.

      Imagine being such a petty child over people wanting there to be less racism in the world. SMH

  2. I want to hear from Lewis what concrete steps he wants to see and what his actionable ideas are. Not just a nebulous statement about ending racism.

    I live in the US and have been speaking out and proactively working against police violence for years. I have never seen Lewis giving money or speaking out on the issue. What accountability does he believe he has in this fight? A guy with a platform with millions of viewers that has not done anything notable for years and is now criticizing those around him for not getting something done in the weeks since he spoke out.

    1. Didin’t you hear? Hamilton launched vegan burger chain and fashion line. He’s on the frontline of the fight. I’m sure 90% of his 40 million salary goes to minorities and people in need.

    2. Yeah I agree. Lewis’ heart is in the right place but his methodology is completely wrong. This isn’t about kneeling down and showing support – it’s about taking action either through educating people, putting pressure on governments or creating new pathways for those who have been disadvantaged.

      As I mentioned on another thread, kneeling down, painting cars in a different colour and plastering “end racism” on billboards is only meaningful if it’s backed up with action.

      1. it’s about taking action either through educating people, putting pressure on governments or creating new pathways for those who have been disadvantaged.

        @petebaldwin But that’s exactly what he did. He didn’t force people to paint the car black or taking the knee. If you listen to what he said in interview he always talk about ending racism deeper than taking the knee. Putting pressure on government? Isn’t that what the focus this weekend? Calling out GPDA and FOM to not just taking a knee once and done? Creating new pathways? I believe he said in interview with Martin Brundle that he create a commission for that. Maybe it won’t bear world changing result but at least he tried. IMO he is already miles better than most celebrities that just appear in a publicity stunt once, donate money, and off to the next trending hashtag.

        Also I don’t believe that as important as he is in F1, he can pressure FIA and the teams to take the knee and changing their livery to black or adding rainbows. It’s obviously the cooperation PR manager idea and Hamilton actually calling them out like you said, i.e. don’t just kneeling down and show support with hashtags.

        1. @soncicslv, timely comment there. Well said.

          Not to mention that Hamilton did actually put up a program/commision to find root causes and develop real, actional steps to help bring about more diversity on top of all of that.

          Mercedes are going along with their driver, they have taken the first step of identifying they lack diversity and seem so far to be serious in actually trying to change things in their company. I really don’t see what Hamilton can do more that would work.

          The guy is afterall a “just” a racing driver. Off course he doesn’t have the answers himself – there really are not easy and quick fixes. But he is using what he can muster with his influence in the sport (and the world around it) to push for something positive.

    3. *facepalm*
      if you didn’t hear or see, that is your problem.

      Who wants – they see.
      I suggest – try reading news about him from the last 2 months, check his social media accounts…

      1. You mean like his fight against climate change? Because he is a vegan, he is changing the world not because he sends his dogs by private jet to Hawaii.

        Or what about his fight for underpriviliged kids to get into racing? Have you seen all the kids in Stevenage learn at the Lewis Hamilton Karting academy?

        Lewis is a populist. Makes gratuite statements that try and make himself and his brand look politically correct.

        But Lewis never undertakes any action that doesn’t bring him a benefit.

      2. That’s just it. I have been watching and listening and all he has are big broad stroke statements. Worse, social media efforts don’t yield results unless it is tied to very specific goals which are then tied to organizations and/or people taking action on that goal. His action smacks more of virtue signaling than a deep commitment. Lewis has always wanted to be famous in America (hence jumping in now and copying Colin Kapernick who has been taking a knee in the NFL for years but I guess he didnt mind racism then) and he has always been diving in to talk about fashionable causes. He’s so used to getting what he wants from his teams and fans, he just expects others will do the actual work of fighting for systematic change while he flys his private jet, poses in fashion magazines and rubs shoulders with the famous and beautiful.

        He should pledge the hundreds of millions he’s saved in tax money (that would have went to education, health care, etc.) to funding education for minority and poor communities. Nothing makes a bigger difference to racism than empowering those people themselves. But he hasn’t even thought that far.

    4. I think the most interesting aspect is that LH is the progeny of a Black father and White mother yet he identifies as Black.
      If he was an equal opportunity identifier surely he should identify as Black and White on alternating days.

  3. And why is no one in F1 or the media asking Lewis these questions? This would be a great chance for RF.net to break a story.

    Call his publicist, Merc’s press officer or head of communications or LH himself directly if you have his contact info and ask. Even a no answer or a “no comment” is a story in and of itself.

  4. I can’t wait to see Chase Carey, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt, Michael Masi and Jo Bauer being replaced by black people soon. Diversity is super important and there’s no better showing of it than to remove whites and replace them with blacks. C’mon Liberty and FIA, make it happen, we all want to see the change!

    1. Maybe Lewis should have a look on this site – it might help him to realise that his focus should be on educating people. Demanding “equality” is never going to be a success if people fail to understand what equality is.

      1. @petebaldwin Equality is and always has been about allowing everybody to step up to the opportunity with only their experience, education & background (as well as job-specific quirks like a nice smile) to determine their rank or status.

        Of course, very few people asking for equality actually want this, though.

      2. @PeteBaldwin

        Are you implying people here don’t understand what equality means because they don’t think he’s sincere or proactive enough?

    2. @armchairexpert whoa, whoa, whoa, buddy… what about the Asians, Mexicans and Native Americans? They need some representation at the tippy top, too. And don’t forget, we’ve got a white woman, now we need women of every size, shape and color, too!

    3. Surely Lewis himself is now overexposed and should step aside for an Asian transexual?

    4. What about pushing FOM & FIA to retreat from countries, violating human rights (at least the most obvious ones…all are to a degree, so it is difficult here to send the right message). Or put some other form of pressure on them. And be prepared to sack the salary to compensate.
      Also kneeling, but not just drivers, while all others just stare and wait to be over. It looks a bit ridiculous.

      Last but not least, this sport by being so exclusive, inherently sends the message, opposite to this…

  5. Still loving how F1 has #WeRaceAsOne right above Saudi Aramco sponsorship! Showing that they as a brand really don’t care that much about these things and are just doing it for PR. Good on Lewis for calling them out, maybe they’ll start doing things properly. The organisation for the kneeling on Sunday was shambolic, half the drivers weren’t even there for it, and those that were kneeled for about 2 seconds before the national anthem started.

    1. This is terribly ironic.
      No sponsor is perfect nor should be mixed with its country of origin. Most times good intentions are enough.
      But the “#WeRaceAsOne right above Saudi Aramco” is pure gold.

      1. Aramco isn’t a private company..

        Aramco is for 98.5% owned by the Saudi state and is a money and pr machine for the autocratic Ibn Saud family.

  6. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    20th July 2020, 13:46

    Given some of the places and people F1 chooses to go to and rub shoulders with getting them to actually ‘do’ anything on diversity for POC or minorities is a joke in itself. I mean, F1 using a rainbow logo for their ‘we race as one’ initiative but making no mention of LGBT rights at all speaks for itself. So far the whole thing has felt similarly performative as clapping for carers but refusing them more money or help – nice idea, coming from a good place, but isn’t actually helping the people you’re trying to help. Hamilton’s goal is noble and his cause is worthy but I think what he’s asking is falling on deaf ears. F1 can do so much more than its doing but I don’t think it actually wants to.

    1. I can understand his frustration. When this movement kicked off obv the press wanted to know what Ham would do. And IIRC he said he may or may not take a knee, would do something, would like to see others do the same, but not disturb anyones national anthem. Since then the process has been highjacked by the GPDA, F1 and the FIA who have turned into a shambles. Although to be fair they have also turned the national anthems into a shambles as well.
      With the current distancing restrictions now would be a good time to stop the whole farce of parading the drivers at the front of the grid, whether it be for a protest, national anthem, or dressing up in t-shirts. It just doesn’t look good. Let then go back to standing with their car and mechanics whatever the ceremony. Having witnessed this three times now, the only display that I’ve been impressed with is when the mechanics at Red Bull and Mercedes took a knee beside their respective cars.

      1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
        20th July 2020, 16:40

        I suppose when the Merc/Red Bull mechanics took the knee it was largely by choice not by enforcement, so I think that hits a little different than being ordered to do so. Regardless F1 hasn’t done enough, not on racism, not on diversity, not with gender… nothing. And again, given the places they go to and are willing to give platforms to I don’t really by their ‘we race as one’ concept as it seems to come with a lot of fine print.

        Perhaps in the pre-race build up they should show off donations to worthy causes, or have teams champion different ones and charities to show F1 is being directly proactive in helping those in need and elevating voices that should be heard. You could certainly argue it isn’t ‘sport’, but if F1 – and Hamilton, want to be a force for change then do something different. Take the ‘we race as one’ concept and entrench it into the fabric of F1. Taking the knee’s an excellent gesture but it’s not actually initiating the change that’s needed.

  7. Shaming other drivers to take symbolic knee is not the way to go.

    But if Hamilton wants to take the knee himself every time he is on the podium, and bring some minority with him(if they have that many?), i would appreciate that.

    Doing this kind of farse pre race is just a joke. Drivers should be free to be as ‘racist’ as they want to be. If they want to take a knee, they should be allowed to, and if they want to listen to the anthem, and look at grid girl… Oh wait we dont have those anymore.

    Oh well, you get the picture. Drivers are not activists or politicians, they are there to race and entertain. If Lewis wants to push his message, he should do it.

    Compelling everyone else to do it now, goes against everything western culture has built over the years.

    1. Significant that now a driver can bring politics to the podium, or for the FIA there are some “animals more equal than others”? Is Lewis reclaiming to be “more equal” than all other drivers?

      Can anyone bring a Bastiat picture, a Thomas Sowell picture? Or instead a picture of oppression in China?

      Did Lewis had any qualms into getting a Mercedes knowing how they were complicit into Nazi regime?
      Did he said anything about that?
      Did he said anything about China, worse did any journalist asked him?

      1. There is nobody alive that has any experience of slavery in the USA.
        However there are a number of people alive who have personal knowledge of the slavery practised by Mercedes in WW2.
        Perhaps LH is not being hypocritical in working for MB but simply playing Obi-Wan ‘These are not the slaves I’m looking for’

  8. I can see Lewis retiring if he wins this Championship & there’s no progress on diversity.

    Having guys like Jackie Stewart and Mario Andretti say there isn’t a problem (er, guys, you’re white) is just going to wear him down. It suggests that racism is institutional.

    I’ve written on here before of the hypocrisy of McLaren (try being LGBTQ+ in Bahrain) and F1 group (taking the wheel barrow loads of cash to help Saudi Aramco sport-wash); the F1 group really needs to acknowledge that the world expects change and leadership.

    1. I think the biggest problem with what Mario said was that BLM is being political (My apologies if I have that wrong?). I agree politics should not be in racing but if your identifying BLM as politics then they don’t understand or unwilling to understand or not agreeing to change and weaponizing a good cause for more equality in this world as simply as a political belief which is petty.

  9. Has anyone asked Jason Watt about his experiences in the 90s?

  10. FIA, FOM and all teams Hamilton is insisting hire people with different skin color should call him out and ask why he doesn’t insist on his race engineer changed to one with the appropriate skin color, and when he doesn’t, ask why not if the matter is so important.

  11. I think that F1 is incredibly diverse. There’s team members from dozens of different countries, and as many different socioeconomic backgrounds as one could imagine I’m sure that a lot of them struggled to get to uni, worked part-time through their degree and really pushed to get an awesome job in a team. I’m also pretty sure that there are a diverse range of political and social views throughout the paddock. So what’s all the fuss?

    Or is it just about colour?

  12. Mario Andretti had to flee his home out of prosecution, lived as a refugee under a roof shared with multiple families and bed sheets separating living spaces. His hometown is no longer even in Italy. He immigrated to America during a time when Italians were not necessarily treated without discrimination. He started at his local track, went on to win championships in multiple series, and witnessed so many drivers die behind the wheel including his teammate Ronnie Peterson at Monza. Lewis has had a cake walk compared to the life Mario has had. Mario flipped his car going 220mph at Indy as a senior citizen. Lewis crossed a huge line trying to look down on Mario as if Mario never knew what discrimination and oppression was. Maybe the younger generations have never had it so good, to complain about those who have been through so much more and so much worse.

    1. But Mario wasn’t the oppressed skin colour!

      Don’t you get it, the propaganda is that ALL blacks are badly treated by life by default and ALL other races have it made from their first second on earth!

  13. Go watch the Netflix documentary, Uppity, if you want to have a idea of what Hamilton is trying fix. Not sure I would have liked the guy, quite bragadocious, but he still should have been given a chance to drive.

  14. Are the F1 or FIA who chooses the drivers?
    I don’t know how far Lewis is pretending to go, but he’s paid to drive and using F1 sponsorship money prize to make protest against F1 is confusing…

    1. How exactly, does Hamilton plan on “improving diversity?” By sticking a bunch of black people in the cars? The fact he thinks F1 is not doing enough to improve diversity just because he’s the only black driver is just stupid. If you look at the junior formulas, there are very few, if any black drivers. If he wants to have more black people getting into motorsport, then maybe he should set up his own driving school, because he certainly has the money to do that. But instead, he brands other drivers as racists because they either don’t take a knee at the start of the race, or help him in his efforts. He’s already not the most popular driver, and that kind of attitude to take is only going to lead the more animosity from both fans and other drivers.

      1. Genuine puzzlement here.
        Lewis is the progeny of a black father and white mother.
        How does that automatically make him black?
        Is it that in a mixed heritage child the perceived under privileged side automatically wins.
        Does Lewis fell he’s under achieved as a Black person and wishes that he’d chosen to identify as white so that could have gotten more success in his career.

  15. Ziggy Stardust
    21st July 2020, 22:02

    He was silent when F1 went to all those countries where there are massive human rights issues… typical hypocritical rich goof

  16. The show of solidarity ahead of the first race of the season was great, right and timely. Nonetheless, I don’t think that Liberty Media nor GPDA should adopt a responsibility to organize some sort of event before every race. If Hamilton and anybody else want to do something on personal level that’s fine, but the sport as such really does not need to do anymore than it is doing already with the trackside signage, etc…

  17. LEAVE AN APPROVED REPLY.

    Last two replies didn’t post because Keith is a coward.

    1. I’ve just been banned from Reddit for posing the same questions/opinions I’m posting on here.
      So Keith could be much less tolerant of differing responses if he wanted to.
      I’m impressed on the wide range of opinions he allows.

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