“We had a very constructive, very good discussion,” Todt told media including RaceFans ahead of the British Grand Prix. “It was an informal exchange.
“What is very important it’s not just one contact,” said Todt, “but to make a programme and to monitor it and to know that it takes time, unfortunately.”
Todt said a co-ordinated approach involving the FIA, F1 and other organisations is necessary to tackle the lack of diversity in motor racing, a cause Hamilton has passionately championed.
“I give credit to what Chase Carey decided to create a movement to make a private donation, which incidentally was matched by the FIA, to address matters of diversity education. So in a way for me that is essential because that is a fact, [there] are actions. If we want to progress, we need a coordinated actions.
“In the FIA we have a department, a lady which is specifically working on that, directly working in my cabinet to address that. And incidentally, she’s also collaborating with the Hamilton Commission. So there is a lot which we have been doing, a lot we intend to do and I’m happy to support as long as it remains in the line we consider which has to be respected.”
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Hamilton and several other drivers had also criticised the poor organisation of the anti-racism ceremony ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. For today’s British Grand Prix the FIA has arranged for an official observance which has been given a dedicated time slot in the schedule.
“That’s to address the situation in a more structured way,” said Todt. “When it was addressed for the first race in Austria, we felt it went the way we wanted. Probably the next races were not as settled as they should have been. That is why we have addressed that.”
Todt praised Hamilton’s dedicated to the causes of anti-racism and diversity. He said the FIA will support it as far as they can, but stressed it would not promote “political messages”.
“I do respect somebody who has beliefs and who tries to use his image, his voice, his leadership to protect something,” said Todt.
“There are so many things, unfortunately, we want to improve. I’m very much involved as the FIA president and as the UN special envoy for road safety about the victims on the roads: 1.4 million people will die on the road; 500 kids die on the road every day; between 30 to 50 million people are injured with disabilities on the road.
“So I do believe, I do admire people who do engage for something where they feel they can bring something. So clearly, if you can bring something to that, I admire that. And as much that we will be able to contribute, we will do it.”
2020 F1 season
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #1: Lewis Hamilton