Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1 has made no progress in fighting racism and promoting diversity, and called on FIA president Jean Todt and F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey to show leadership on the subject.
Formula 1 announced a diversity initiative called ‘#WeRaceAsOne’ ahead of the first race of the season. Drivers also participated in a pre-race gesture of support for diversity, which has continued in subsequent races.
Hamilton said Formula 1 “did an okay job in the first race”. But, he added, “it’s not good enough in terms of what you see in other sports.”
“It was a step forward and then it’s almost like it’s gone off the agenda after that. It’s lacking leadership.
“There needs to be leadership from the top. They need to come out with ‘hey, this is what we’re going to do guys, and we want you all to be a part of it’. And currently there is none of that.”
Hamilton said he is more keen to see action taken by those who run the sport, rather than his fellow drivers.
“I try not to lean so much on the drivers because I don’t want them to feel that it’s me doing it, because that probably could be in some cases the reason why people might not want to do it, because they think it’s that I’m doing it,” he said.
“But I don’t think it’s been taken seriously. I think there are perhaps people who have not grown up around it so don’t understand it. And there are those that because of that [say] ‘it doesn’t affect me’. I have heard those comments: ‘Look, it doesn’t do anything for me, so why should I do it?’
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“But it’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about this fight. People out there who are experiencing discrimination, that’s what we’re fighting for. We’re fighting for change in organisations.”
He wants the sport to follow the example of Mercedes, which has announced it will launch a new programme to promote diversity this year.
“I continue to be really proud of my team,” he said. “I know you could say that I’m biased, but I’m not. My team has actually held themselves accountable and I continue to really try to follow through and be understanding.
“My team took a knee at the last race – I’m not quite sure if they did today because I didn’t see them, I think they did – and that takes a lot of guts and a lot of open-heartedness to fight with that.
“You’re not seeing that follow-through by any other brand. There are hundreds of brands that are involved in this sport and there are nine other teams who have yet to say ‘you know what guys, like Formula 1, we hold ourselves accountable, we’re going to do so, we’re going to do better with the sport’. I’ve not heard that from any of them and I think that maybe is why the drivers are not also following through because they don’t feel part of it.
“So I will get in touch with Formula 1 this week. I will speak to Jean because no one else is going to do it, particularly.
“There are few drivers, as I said, who have been in touch with me like, ‘hey, I want to be a part of this, what can I do?’ Which is fantastic. My dream is that by the end of the year we will all know and understand things better. We all stand united and the whole of Formula 1 is on top of it.”
Hamilton said Formula 1 “haven’t made any progress” in improving diversity within the sport yet. “We’ve said things and there’s been statements released and we’ve made gestures, such as kneeling. But we’ve not changed anything except for perhaps our some of our awareness.”
He intends to bring this up directly with those in charge of the sport. “I’ll get back on the call with Formula 1 and see where they are, where they’re feeling confused, where they’re feeling pressure.
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“I’d love to know what Jean thinks, I’d love to know what Chase thinks and what the organisation thinks of moving forwards. But there is no progress yet.
“So far it’s been visible but as I’ve said there’s nine teams that… I think there’s one that I’ve spoken to who already are working in the background, but there’s no other teams that I know of that have been held accountable or hold themselves accountable.
“I think you need a leader. Where is Jean in that scenario? It shouldn’t be for me to have to call the teams, or call the teams out. I want to encourage them, it shouldn’t be me that has to give them a call with them to say, ‘hey, what are you doing?’ ‘What’s your plan?’ That should be announced or discussed from the top down, that should be coming from the higher powers.”
Yesterday’s joint anti-racism gesture by the drivers was markedly less well-organised than previous examples. In a break with convention, they were told to congregate in the pit lane instead of at the front of the grid, and several drivers did not arrive before the national anthem began.
The confusion over the pre-race arrangements arose partly from disagreements within the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, according to Hamilton. He said Romain Grosjean, a GPDA director, had argued against continuing the practice after the first race of the season.
“There definitely is not enough support for it,” said Hamilton. “I think from a drivers’ point of view, many people seem to be of the opinion that they’ve done it once and they’re not going to do it again. And I don’t know their reasons for that opinion.
“We are all members of the GPDA and the GPDA is run by three people, two who are really for it and supportive of it and one that is one of those that tends to not think it’s important to continue with.”
Sebastian Vettel said he felt the arrangements before Sunday’s race had been “rushed”, and drivers were confused about what was planned.
“I think what you see is what the situation is,” he said after the race. “I think also today there was very, very little time in all fairness, everything was a bit rushed.
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“I think drivers were just about to arrive to do what every driver individually decided to do and in the end, [the anthem] was starting. I think going forwards, it’s probably true that we need to talk amongst ourselves a bit better. So hopefully we can sort it out.”
Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas said he “didn’t really know just before the race that there was going to be something happening before the national anthem” and “there was not that much communicated” about it.
“But in the drivers’ meeting, FOM made it very clear that they are happy to help if we want to organise something either before or after the national anthem for the drivers to show our opinion or support for different things. So I think they are kind of with us. But I think for this weekend, it was not maybe communicated that well between between drivers and GPDA.”
Bottas, who like Vettel joined Hamilton in taking a knee before the race yesterday, said he supports his team mate’s outspoken stance on the issue of racism.
“Lewis, for sure, he’s really pushing for this topic, which I understand and as a team we’re really backing him up. And it’s an important matter, it’s a big thing in the world. So that’s OK.
“I just personally, I don’t really like politics. I’m a racing driver, but I’m happy to support because I’m anti-racist, I don’t like people being racist. It’s not right. So of course, I’m happy to support that.
“At the same time, yes, I’m a driver, I just love to drive and aiming to win races. But we all can have a big impact.
“So it’s nice to use it the way we’re using and I think Lewis is changing the mindset of many drivers and many people in the world on how we can actually affect things. So that’s very positive and that’s very good and he’s got my support for that.”
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57 comments on “Hamilton urges top F1 bosses Todt and Carey to show leadership and promote diversity”
20th July 2020, 7:30
20th July 2020, 11:15
And Lewis has bullyed drivers, FIA, others into this agenda.
He needs to stop. Message has been sent. Drivers and FIA have shown their support.
20th July 2020, 14:34
I wonder if you say the same about the initiative to not drink and drive? The message has been sent, so why bother having it plastered across Heineken advertising boards? The message may well be clear and ‘sent’ but until it is received and racism has ended, I’m happy for the statements and gestures and, more importantly, actions to continue.
20th July 2020, 18:01
Nobody is pressuring people into repeatedly taking a knee or to wear a t-shirt for the drink drive message. Also the the drink drive message is very straight forward & obviously the right message. The blm cause has become very mixed & complicated, especially taking a knee. Of course racism shouldn’t exist but taking a knee is the opposite of equality & why should anybody side with a cause that’s morphed into pulling down statue’s, rioting & them themselves racially abusing people, including back people that rightfully stand against the rioting & pulling down of statues.
This has become far more then simply a topic of racism & has become incredibly political. I have respect for those not being pressured into taking a knee or being dragged into politics. Hamilton’s comments about diversity in F1 are also bordering on insulting. F1 & sport in general is one of the most diverse & multicultural things on the planet. From drivers & players to coaching teams & backroom staff.
20th July 2020, 17:42
We have all been here before! As soon as the message goes away, the world moves on and another needless murder occurs. We know all too well, that unless the message stays, unless Joe Blogs doesn’t give up, change never happens.
Napier Railton (@napierrailton)
20th July 2020, 7:56
I don’t think I quite understand what the end goal is here…
Is Lewis suggesting that the teams offer redundancy for team members so they can be replaced by someone more diverse?
20th July 2020, 8:03
Exactly. Forcing diversity for diversities sake is even worse than none at all.
20th July 2020, 8:26
End racism. That is the goal
He does not suggest redundancies, and it is better not to pervert his words.
20th July 2020, 21:11
Racism will never end, so you are being completely irrational.
Why don’t we just demand to end all violence? I expect it to be done in 2 weeks. OK, three.
21st July 2020, 1:48
Exactly – to say “end racism” is silly – it cannot and will not ever happen.
The message should be “equal rights for blacks” – that is what the issue is.
Hamilton is making matters much worse – he is both arrogant and ignorant.
I think he wants to see himself as a martyr.
20th July 2020, 9:04
Show don’t tell Lewis, hire a non white personal assistent if it’s that important to you.
Show don’t tell!!
20th July 2020, 17:44
You want black people to be PA’s so they can be ordered around?! Yeah that’s going to work brilliantly.
21st July 2020, 18:18
How on earth is the position of PA a matter of back or white, or do you really think blacks should be installed in the F1 boards instantly?
So, where are all the black dad’s with their kids at the karting tracks? Blacks aren’t refused at the gates of the karting and motorsports communities. To get in the boards people simply will have to go the mile, whether they’re black or white.
20th July 2020, 12:20
@napierrailton race is just part of the message, they are wanting to promote diversity, not by replacing people but by giving everyone the same opportunities from the ground up. As far as roles within the sport go, he’s not saying that people should be replaced, he’s saying that, when a position becomes available, that everyone should have equal opportunity. He’s also campaigning for that to be the case outside of the sport too. In order to promote that, the message had to be sustained.
20th July 2020, 21:14
Formula 1 is not ground level. It is top level. So why is change then demanded here?
21st July 2020, 21:18
@aapje Because F1 has global reach and can spread messages to millions easily (if managed correctly)
21st July 2020, 22:15
So F1 is supposed to become an activist organisation? Why not let activist organisations be activist organisations and let F1 be F1?
21st July 2020, 22:36
@aapje We certainly don’t want a massive influx of political messages flooding the sport. On the other hand spreading a positive message on a platform that has a global reach seems to be a responsible thing to do In some circumstances (promoting “don’t drink and drive” during the adverts seemed very appropriate to me for example).
There are plenty of people out there who think “this doesn’t affect me so I don’t want it rammed in my face every two minutes”. Admittedly its difficult to tell where to draw the line with sport and promotion of certain issues. In this instance. I personally think it’s an important enough message for it to be worthwhile it being on this platform and raise awareness (it’s far more effective at raising awareness than specific organisations can raise on their own), so for this, I’m glad that it’s being talked about.
I don’t think it’s taking up too much time, and it isn’t stopping us from seeing cracking racing at the end of the day, so if nobody’s being hurt by it, fine by me. I accept there will be people who feel differently.
21st July 2020, 23:47
“Don’t drink and drive” is not promoted during the adverts, it is a (Heineken) advert. A typical way for companies to sell to you is to associate their brand with some generic thing that many people think is good, so people will get good feelings about the company.
Anyway, an issue is that what is a wholesome message for one, is hateful to the other. For example, some see ‘pro-life’ messages as saving lives, others see it as oppressing women. For you one of the latter may be obvious, but many people sincerely believe in the former. Similarly, some see BLM’s agenda as bringing about a more diverse world, while others think that it drives people into racial conflict.
Note that just every political slogan is heavily simplified, usually in a way that manipulates people. They typically push you into a certain ‘frame’ that makes certain solutions seem obvious, even though often, the facts don’t (fully) support that frame nor is it obvious that those solutions will solve the issue and/or that they won’t have severe downsides.
22nd July 2020, 13:46
@aapje Thanks for the insight. Maybe they need to keep it simple atm, and just stick to the end racism/we race as one messages for the time being and carry on the diversity stuff in the background while it’s being researched.
20th July 2020, 8:00
This whole kneeling-thing is just getting more and more redundant as time goes by.
20th July 2020, 8:25
Your suggestion – to do nothing and pretend that everything is fine as it is?
20th July 2020, 17:46
Nothing to see here, move along.
20th July 2020, 8:02
I still don’t know if Hamilton is being serious about this comments or if he is just doing this for PR credits.
In my opinion he continues focused on symbolic things when he has the power and the money to do real things. For Diverse people to get into F1 as a non driver you need:
– to live in a country Where your background does not block you opportunities
– you need to have someone (either school or family) that nurtures and trims your intelligence from early age, some brilliant people can do it on their own, I’m also an engineer in an area that is related to what F1 needs, I could say “how, if I did it, everyone could” but that’s not true, I have the privilege of having parents that had the time and ability to put me up to mental challenges and help me since early age. In many European nations, non-white people are immigrants or sons of immigrants, their parents have very complicated life’s (demanding jobs, weird working hours, etc) And some of them don’t have themselves the knowledge to help their child’s in school.
Fortunately, in Europe you don’t need to be rich to get into university, but the big blockers came before. Things are improving, but very slowly.
Leaving the free market to solve this will Take centuries. That’s why it’s important that governments and others entities try to give it a little push.
But even with all the good will of everyone it will take a lot Of time to fix that. And Hamilton does not seem to understand that, and his excessive focus on this “let’s bend the knee before running around in circles spending fuel before going in our private jets to our luxury homes” will not change anything.
Also, to get into F1 it helps a lot if you’re British. I think it’s easy to get into F1 behind a British Black gay women than being a white straight guy from Bulgaria.
20th July 2020, 8:31
He doesn’t have private jet.
And he is not doing that shallow job you just described.
He is exactly trying to get everyone on board, the Top management, exactly the people, who can start massive changes.
You say he has the money and power to change anything, but he doesn’t? Hypocrisy at its best.
20th July 2020, 19:50
The Top bosses of F1 don’t have the ability to make people in Africa or Southeast Asia be able to get a great education from early age, and to get a life that allows them to focus on his intelectual development from an early age. They can create a foundation that can do that for a few hundreds, maximum thousands of people. That will still fall short to the hundreds of millions of white people who already have that provided by social services, family and economic situation.
21st July 2020, 1:51
You won’t get people on board by coercing them…
20th July 2020, 8:57
I would say Hamilton is well aware of these issues as he has been involved in them for a number of years. In relation to the knee he has said that this will have a limited shelf life, and once everyone who wants has done the march, got the button, etc. it will be left to some serious people to work towards resolving some of these issues. In regards to his own commission he has already predicted it will take 5 to 10 years before any results are known.
And to be fair; all the stumbling blocks you identify are all in areas that Hamilton has been involved in over a number of years. From getting education to those that currently dont have access to it, engaging with those who don’t think its for them, engaging more people in stem and further education through to job opportunities.
Although in respect of motorsport I believe you have identified the key issue; location. Without the ability to relocate to the UK you can pretty much ruled yourself out of a career in F1.
Jay Menon (@jaymenon10)
21st July 2020, 2:15
I agree with some of your points.
Here’s the thing though, in UK, as an example, there are plenty of third generation South Asians who are highly educated in the fields of STEM. Why are they not in F1 in capacities of engineers and technicians? I have posted this question here before.
20th July 2020, 8:17
Like Bottas I also support Hamilton’s ‘outspoken stance on the issue of racism.‘
But I think Hamilton is wrong when singling our other drivers, teams, organisers, and now GDPA members. You get people on board by informing them, not by publicly saying you are right and they are wrong.
20th July 2020, 9:31
To be fair, this whole ‘kneely thing’ was organised by F1 and the GPDA; not Hamilton. It has been a shambles for the last two races. So I don’t see the problem with Ham calling out those who organised it to actually take control of it.
20th July 2020, 8:24
What the heck this guy wants?!?! Top level motorsport NEVER WAS something that attracted black people. It’s not like since 1950 there were 1000 competent&useful black people at the gates of motorsport… and nobody hired them! Same way, we can accuse him/them of the lack of diversity from rap music, NBA etc.
20th July 2020, 12:50
@mg1982 just because something is historically one way doesn’t mean it should continue and nothing should be done about it. How do you know that different ethnicities and genders weren’t attracted to motorsport one the 1950s? The opportunities for women and minorities was definitely lower in the 1950s to today, but today we are more aware of people’s rights than 70 years ago
The most logical starting point is to help the most generally affected but I agree that diversity should be promoted in all walks of life, so equal opportunities should be given in the NBA and rap music too, no one said otherwise
20th July 2020, 8:29
Totally agree with him.
Except for kneeling, there is nothing visibly going on.
F1 management is disinterested, disengaged. Except LGBT logo they didn’t come up with anything else. True it is a start, but it already looks like everything stalls.
20th July 2020, 21:17
True, there is no visible racism going on in F1.
20th July 2020, 8:38
For the first time in his career I understand the ‘haters’ of Hamilton. Knuckle down and develop some kind of plan Lewis, then I’ll perhaps you’ll get some of my respect back. All this whining and finger pointing does nothing constructive, quite the opposite. Stop being chippy and go and establish a personal relationship with the sport’s individuals, calling them out in the media is just going to get their backs up and you’ll not get anywhere. It may in fact be too late already, the body language of some of the drivers replicated my inner thoughts, what is this achieving?
But, but, what about the STEM stuff I hear you say? A search on ‘STEM Hamilton’ threw up a whole ruck of stuff eg
Hold on though, not what it might seem. In fact it’s a resource that has been developing since Lewis was a pre-schooler.
Meanwhile, the Lewis Hamilton STEM thing? Somebody bring me up to speed on that one please, I couldn’t find it.
20th July 2020, 8:43
So paint all cars black? What kind of diversity is that?
20th July 2020, 8:57
@ruliemaulana the weird thing is the silver/grey color was perfectly diverse. It’s black that is picking a side.
I guess the teams all support race now, black, red, yellow, pink.. Pretty diverse or racist. Social Justice Warriors are never content, so don’t bother feeding those trolls..
20th July 2020, 9:12
Hamilton has this amazing position where he can call out what is wrong and millions (or probably even billions) will hear it. He can try and teach people about racism, he can tell people the stories of racism he and others have faced and he can encourage people to do something tangible that will improve the situation. He can make an absolutely huge difference to the world….
The trouble is, I’m not really hearing anything like this. His goal seems to be to get people in F1 to make symbolic statements such as taking a knee or issuing a Twitter post denouncing racism. That’s fine but it’s no better than the “thoughts and prayers” statements politicians make when something awful happens. It’s just adding noise to the situation without doing anything to improve it.
There’s a footballer called Marcus Rashford – he has spotted something he thought was wrong and he pressurised the UK government to make a change and that change happened. I’m not suggesting it was the same level as as ending racism but he didn’t spent his time complaining that other footballers weren’t talking about the situation and he didn’t ask for their support – he stepped out of his comfort zone and exposed a situation he felt was unfair which then gained traction amongst people and it forced the government into action. That’s what Lewis needs to do.
20 extremely rich and privileged F1 drivers kneeling down and some empty words from teams saying “we’ll try to do better” isn’t going to end racism or increase equality. In that regard, Grosjean is right in that kneeling has achieved all it will so there is no real point in continuing with it.
20th July 2020, 10:29
Spot on.. my thoughts exactly
20th July 2020, 19:57
20th July 2020, 9:19
It’s a no-brainer to agree with Hamilton and everyone else for that matter on the stance of ending racism. However I don’t agree with him that other teams and organisations have to take example of Mercedes to promote diversity. In my opinion the best suitable person should fill in a vacancy (regardless of race, sex, age, religious believes, etc. but on the basis of skills, competencies, etc.).
To me diversity means having a balanced representation of backgrounds. For example: quick search on the internet has about 93% of the population of Italy are having an Italian background and about 1,5% of African decent. One would expect about the same percentages with Ferrari to be a diverse organisation.
The origin of lack of diversity (underrepresentation of certain backgrounds) lies with groups not having the same ability to pursue knowledge, skills and competencies. Like @F1Recorder stated above it’s important to have an environment where backgrounds aren’t blocking opportunities and it’s important to have an environment that nurtures, grow and challenge (in a good way) intelligence and unfortunately most countries and societies aren’t able to provide that. It’s a bit better than say 30 years ago and it was better then, then in the 1960’s but there’s still a long way to go to have really equality in opportunities.
Because of F1 is the pinnacle of Motorsport, there’s a demand for the best skilled people (be it drivers, engineers, analyst, etc.). A vast share of the people working in F1 come from European based companies. Unfortunately by reasons stated above, very few of those people come from a ‘diverse’ background. I firmly believe it will be better (meaning more diverse) over time, but this won’t happen overnight. However the day where all people have the same opportunities can’t come soon enough.
On a side-note: I don’t expect Lewis Hamilton to be commenting on teams lack of diversity based on statistics rather than his gut-feeling and he’s probably not wrong in most cases. However… how diverse is an organisation like Honda for example?
20th July 2020, 21:29
How diverse is Japan?
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
20th July 2020, 10:13
None of the drivers used in the simulated F1 season earlier this year was a woman. Diversity includes women. I haven’t heard a single team justify why they couldn’t have used a woman driver for at least one of the simulated races. F1 does have a serious problem with diversity, but it isn’t Jean and Chase that need to change but the Team Principals, or should I say Team Principles. That’s where change has to start. The Team Principals need to explain why they believe a non-professional male driver is better than a female professional racing car driver.
20th July 2020, 13:02
There were no women in the F1 game competition – but then there weren’t many F1 drivers either.
Hardly anyone wanted to participate in it.
How many female drivers were asked? How many turned it down?
I don’t think it would have been any more productive to introduce a ‘quota’ system for the game any more than it is to have one in any other aspect of life.
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
20th July 2020, 19:19
I cannot answer your questions, so the onus is upon F1 to provide the answers.
21st July 2020, 11:01
You probably want to ask those questions to F1 directly, then.
Asking them here might not be too productive.
Either way, I wouldn’t expect it to have been an example of deliberate discrimination.
20th July 2020, 10:44
Sainz against world hunger
Grosjean for education in underdeveloped areas
Ricciardo for saving the barrier reefs
Verstappen for protecting the rain forests
Perez for the fight against aids
Kimi for equal access to drinks
Thank the lord not every driver feels entitled to pressure others into supporting their pet cause or there would be no time for racing..
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
20th July 2020, 11:35
We’d be in for one long pre-anthem stance-taking ceremony!
20th July 2020, 11:11
As a mental health practitioner for the past 22 years I have seen thousands of illnesses, struggles and patterns within this. I have to say that right now I am concerned with Hamilton’s mental health and the potential for where such a dramatic change has come from.
Many influential celebrities in history have been targeted by political groups/cults to spread their message (Elvis Presley, Mohammed Ali, Tom Cruise) and this has always been greatly to their detriment.
The tell tale sign of this of always a very quick and dramatic change in attitude and complete conviction to the cause, almost a complete personality transplant.
Hamilton I believe is being used and this has the potential to complete destroy him.
20th July 2020, 16:28
You can’t be a good one if you are concerned for Hamilton’s health. Or if you think this is not a continuation of previous behavior and that it’s a dramatic change.
20th July 2020, 13:38
To want diversity so badly that he doesn’t respect a diverse opinion from his. I’d like to see a detailed, specific step by step plan to correct this situation. It’s easy to point out a problem,the trick comes in outlining a solution.
20th July 2020, 18:04
The ironic thing is that when Hamilton promotes diversity, he is really just promoting blacks as part of his black power campaign during the black lives matter movement because he is black which is as chauvinistic as anything. The worst is really that he doesn’t really care about that either because blacks are sold as slaves in Libya which is known to all but not a word from him about that. It’s just about scoring points with his clan in USA.
20th July 2020, 18:58
What absolute twaddle. He has been a UN Global Ambassador for nearly a decade dealing in children’s issues and education. He supports disabled vets, pays for homeless shelters, contributes to GOSH. And the Royal Academy of Engineers are running his Commission. And their are 35 differently nationalities at the inner city school he supports. Black power campaign. Really?
I understand why people don’t like Hamilton, but you guys just make nonsense up and then get angry about what is no more than a figment of your imagination.
ADUB SMALLBLOCK (@waptraveler)
20th July 2020, 18:21
I don’t like seeing a “litmus test” being put in place for anything, ie, “Do this ONE thing, or you are against us, you are the enemy”. However, as F1 has committed to support this cause with a ceremony at each race, they need to keep their word. That being said, it is still every driver’s right to participate, not participate as they desire, without consequences.
21st July 2020, 13:33
Only Sith’s deal in absolutes
21st July 2020, 21:25
Read my mind @gubstar 😄
Comments are closed.