Hamilton: 2021 is not just about winning the title, it’s time for action on equality

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says winning the world championship is not his only goal for the 2021 F1 season.

The reigning champion can set a new record by winning an eighth world title this year. But speaking at the launch of Mercedes’ new F1 car he said his focus is also on doing more to promote diversity within the sport.

Hamilton set up his own commission last year to encourage the take-up of science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects among young black people. He also used his uniquely high profile within F1 to promote the Black Lives Matter movement and draw attention to the ongoing problem of racism.

Asked during the launch of the new Mercedes W12 today whether his main priority was to clinch an eighth title, Hamilton stressed the importance of his work promoting diversity.

“The main priority for 2021 – in the past it was about just winning championships but now it’s really pushing for… last year there was a lot of discussion about equality and inclusion and I think there was a lot of talk, this year it’s all about pushing for the diversity and really making sure that action is taken,” he said.

“That’s at the core of the drive for me. But of course we exist to win, that’s what all these guys and girls here are working towards. And so that’s my goal, to deliver that for them.”

Hamilton has signed a one-season extension on his Mercedes contract, prompting speculation he could call time on his 15-year career at the end of 2021. He said he hasn’t decided whether he intends to continue racing in the 2022 F1 season and beyond.

“I’m kind of in a fortunate position where I’ve achieved most of the stuff that I wanted to achieve up until this point,” said Hamilton. “So there’s no real need necessarily to plan too far ahead in the future.

“I think we’re living in quite an unusual period of time in life and I just wanted one year, then we can talk about if we do more and keep adding it [by] one if we have to.”

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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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34 comments on “Hamilton: 2021 is not just about winning the title, it’s time for action on equality”

  1. Condemn going to Saudi Arabia, Lewis. And make Mercedes do it too. Otherwise it’s just talk talk talk and all the We Race as One and similar messages are just empty corporate PR.

    1. @pironitheprovocateur God forbid doing what he can within the limits his job allows him to.

      “When you can’t do 100%, do 0%”.

      1. indeed @losd – how about all the other drivers and teams that drive in F1 under that #WeRaceAsOne banner @pironitheprovocateur, or the sport itself, why does it have to be all on Hamilton?

        1. @bosyber Well, for one, he is the one who keeps himself in this kind of conversation. Also, as opposed to his colleagues, he is basically unfireable.

          1. See @mrbroerns, that’s a pretty solid argument why we can ask more from him than from some others, though I still think the teams themselves (well, Mercedes has been doing that with their+HAM initiative) and FIA should be the ones doing more, consistently.

    2. He is. But at the moment he has to solve the world of racism to the standard you demand, then make sure every child on the planet has access to education through UNGG4, EducationAfrica and Unicef, win an 8th WDC/WCC and a few other bits and pieces. Once he has done that he’ll get right onto the issue you care about. Although I think in relation to those complainers on RaceFans doesnt he have to solve the Chinese forced labour camp issue first? (So you may need to wait a bit.)

    3. He seems to have no problem with fellow driver use terms derogatory/racist towards central Asians either. He is just a typical hypocrite with all talk and no action.

    4. Leave the drivers, let’s see if any of the journalists dare to ask something related to this topic in Saudi press conf.

    5. @pironitheprovocateur
      So what about China and fair labor conditions?
      What about Emirates and human rights?
      What about speculations on Ineos?

      1. Would be lovely if all the other drivers focused on their jobs and left Hammo to make political gestures to his heart’s content all on his own.

    6. We Never Raced As One And Still Cannot Race As One

  2. Good on you Lewis.

    Being a world champion (several times over) is an amazing achievement. But using the platform those championships have given you to promote equality and human rights is an even greater achievement and one which radiates beyond F1.

    Lewis courts plenty of criticism from those crying into their Daily Mail because he’s “bringing politics into F1”. But if he didn’t use his voice then that he’d be wasting it when he is in a privileged position to use it for good. Every time Lewis focus his energy on human rights issues I feel a little more proud of him. He’s a true champion.

    1. The trouble is that it’s hypocrisy and all for show. If he really cared about unfairness and human rights, he would react when Bahraini and Saudis wrote him in desperation pleading to use his position to help with the human rights abuses and lives on the line, but all we hear from him is about black lives and black power because he is black and that’s where his interest lies. Even when he is talking about diversity, you can be sure what he means is black people, not poor Arabs or handicapped Chinese for example. And you see no call from him to change out any of his white crew, or even his ultra-white physio, so it’s all just posturing self-aggrandizement and nothing else.

  3. So, what is Lewis actually going to do for diversity?

    1. Apart from set up and fund his own equality commission? Push one of the worlds largest automotive companies to be more inclusive and drive fwd their own employment diversity?

      1. that doesn’t really answer my question. What tangible things are being done?

        Does all that mean he’s pushing Mercedes to hire more people from ethnic backgrounds?

        If that is the case, I hope it’s not at the expense of other people who aren’t coming from those backgrounds.

        Assuming we’re talking about F1 here, there are only a finite amount of places to be filled, especially in the new budget cap era.

        1. @napierrailton

          Solid point.
          F1 is a high competence environment and I don’t actually think there’s much else taken into consideration except pure merit.

          1. So only white men are highly competent?

        2. @napierrailton Mercedes: The team has set itself a target to bring in at least 25% of all its new starters from under-represented groups. https://www.racefans.net/2021/03/02/hamilton-eighth-title-wont-be-deciding-factor-whether-i-keep-racing-in-2022/

  4. This coming from a guy who accept a knighthood which basically admitting that there are Royals amongst us which is like saying that we are not equal.

    1. Sure he considers it folklore and sees it as a means rather than an achievement

      1. and also consider that a knighthood doesnt mean anything outside the UK, so he’s probably just playing along and meanwhile getting a bigger podium

  5. HAM won’t commit either way to driving in the Saudi GP until the championship is decided. It’s at the back of the calender, so if the Mercedes (again) roflstomps the competition he’ll be able to make a grand gesture once it’s time. If the championship comes down to the wire (as all F1 fans hope I’m sure), he will drive it anyway and confine his protest to a T-shirt or something.

    1. Fred Fedurch
      2nd March 2021, 22:44

      Exactly. He’s all hat, no cowboy.

  6. This is man is absolutely unbearable.

  7. Totally fed up with the Uber rich lecturing us little people about how evil we all are.

  8. Fred Fedurch
    2nd March 2021, 22:42

    Shut up. Get in the car. Drive.

  9. Lewis, you are full of it. The hypocrisy is astounding. You are driving for the team who symbolises inequality. The team with at least 100 million more dollars than any other team. You yourself earn more money than any other driver. Now you want to preach to others about equality. You are not qualified.

  10. All the comments in this section speak to me in some way or another. I fully get the people who are fed up and point out why he of all should not do this, privileged as he is, demanding the salary he does, formerly owning a plane and tons of cars. But also the argument he is using his status to point to societal inequities I fully get. Hence I feel the key is in his delivery. Maybe he could shape up the way he delivers the message to even capture a bigger audience. And also better consider place and timing. In short: having some support and building a plan would improve the overall situation I feel. Should he already have done that, then hire better people..

  11. Hamilton is one of the richest and privileged 0.0001% on the planet.

    He’s been a Mercedes works driver since he entered F1.

    Where is the discrimination and lack of diversity exactly? McLaren (the works Mercedes team) identified his talent and supported him gave him the opportunity, giving him the best car on the grid in his debut season, favouring him over double world champion Alonso.

    How would it have been different if his skin colour was white? I can’t think of a driver that has had as an easy run as Hamilton in the history of the sport.

  12. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    3rd March 2021, 13:32

    I think Bottas would settle for equality!

  13. And this is why I am not a fan of Hamiltons as much as other drivers out there.
    Yes, he’s right to stand up, for anti racism etc, etc. But what I dont like is when it becomes more political than sportsmanlike.

    Sir Hamilton… excuse me

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