Drivers back Hamilton’s call for teams to sign up to diversity charter

2022 F1 season

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Several Formula 1 drivers backed Lewis Hamilton’s call for teams to support a charter to encourage greater diversity and inclusion of people from under-represented backgrounds in the sport.

They gave their support to Hamilton’s diversity initiative, proposed by his Hamilton Commission last year, following the widespread criticism of Nelson Piquet’s use of a racist term when referring to Hamilton in an interview which emerged recently.

The three-times world champion apologised for using an offensive term to refer to Hamilton in the 2021 interview conducted in Portuguese, but claimed there was no racist intention behind its use.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, Hamilton urged all 10 F1 teams to sign up to a charter proposed by his Hamilton Commission and take steps to encourage greater diversity and inclusion of people from under-represented backgrounds.

“We really need F1 and all the teams that have committed to signing this F1 charter that I’ve done, with the Hamilton Commission, to work and also to put funds towards [diversity and inclusion],” he said. “It’s not good enough just saying we are also focused on it and just lip service.”

“I’ve been on calls with all the F1 teams who all agreed to be a part of this F1 charter and it’s still not signed and it’s still not underway,” he added.

Many of Hamilton’s fellow drivers voiced their support for efforts to increase participation of people from under-represented groups in Formula 1, including AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

“We’ve got to be united in a fight and Lewis is the biggest ambassador we have in our sport and it needs to go beyond our sport,” he said in yesterday’s FIA press conference.

“I think in the society of today we need to set an example to all the people out there and I’ll push my team and I’ll do anything that’s possible within our organisation, all of us as drivers, [the Grand Prix Drivers Association], anything that’s possible, we need to set an example and we cannot let these things happen.”

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Williams driver Nicholas Latifi questioned why some teams on the grid would not have already signed up to the Hamilton Commission charter.

“Me personally, I’m not 100% aware of why it hasn’t been signed yet,” said Latifi. “Maybe that’s something that I could inquire about with my team, particularly.

“I think we’re all sitting here on the same page about what is still wrong in this world and in this day and age. Me personally, I do what I can to support that and I think us, as big a sport as we are and now it’s growing at an astronomical level, we have to do what we can to use our platforms, sports platform, the drivers’ individual platforms as well, because we do have a very big reach and anything we can to spread the positive message is needed.”

As the first ever Chinese race driver in Formula 1, Zhou Guanyu said he had suffered racist abuse on social media after Alfa Romeo announced last year he would join their team.

“From my side, I got a perfect example experience of that once I signed the contract last year,” Zhou said. “Obviously there’s quite a lot negativities, racist comments, which never should happen in any part of sports or in the world in general.

“It’s not just for us. As a driver – also Lewis – we’re trying to help the world going forward and it’s not just for us, it’s for the younger generation to set a better example for them. So I think everybody’s should really stay united. It equally doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, what job you’re doing. That’s the way we’re trying to build up for this platform in Formula 1.”

The British Racing Drivers Club announced it has suspended Piquet’s honorary membership, while RaceFans understands that Formula 1 has banned him from the paddock at all grand prix events.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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18 comments on “Drivers back Hamilton’s call for teams to sign up to diversity charter”

  1. F1 community should not tolerate any prejudice against anyone based on their race, nationality, or ethnic. Even they are Russian.

    1. They don’t. what makes you say that

    2. Hehe ruliemaulana

      What a bunch of dishonest people this F1 is. Starting with Hamilton. A big hike in black murders in USA and he is quiet. Of course even more shameful the journalists not asking questions.

      Let’s say how many introvert drivers in F1? how many “Old souls” drivers in F1. How many orphans drivers F1? How many divorced parents drivers in F1? How many drivers with sisters in F1? How many drivers have no brothers in F1?

      All that needs to be accounted for in new Corporatist Chamber.
      Chamber of Fasces and Corporations would be replaced by the chamber of Races and Identities. Mussolini would smile at all this.

  2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    1st July 2022, 10:28

    That’d be great new for a new team. Let all existing teams pick diversity over quality and then just hire all still available best people for the job!

    It’s almost as hilarious as Mercedes’ drive for diversity last year and then binning the car this year.
    By focusing purely on what someone is instead of what someone can, you’ll never end up with the best candidate. And if the best candidate is also the most diverse one, you don’t have to focus on diversity to begin with.

    1. Totally agree Barry,

      I really don’t believe racism exists in F1 for the very reason that you described. The teams want the best people with the best qualifications so the team can perform at the highest level possible.

      There isn’t a team boss on the grid who would turn away somebody because of race or gender if it meant having an advantage.

      More BS trying to make racism an issue when it doesn’t. Diversity for the sake of it is actually discrimination and should not be encouraged.

      1. Exactly.

      2. The teams may want the ‘best people’, but there are still practical concerns. For a prime example: Mercedes F1 team (using RaceFans’ list of their key personnel).

        Where are they based? United Kingdom.
        Where is their technical director from? United Kingdom.
        Engineering director? United Kingdom.
        Performance director? United Kingdom.
        Technology director? United Kingdom.
        Sporting director? United Kingdom.
        Chif strategist? United Kingdom.
        Chief operating officer? United Kingdom.
        Driver A? United Kingdom.
        Driver B? United Kingdom.

        F1 is very much a European series that just so happens to race in other continents. And by European one more accurately means that 70% of the teams are in England. Not even spread around the United Kingdom. Just England. The second problem, in this sense, is that not everyone who is a skilled professional in whichever field wants to work in F1, and not everyone who does wants to also live in the United Kingdom (or travel around the world for 9+ months). As such, the talent pool for F1 jobs in England is actually quite small.

        1. F1 is basically England + Ferrari.

          For the new “equality” rules i propose not more than 2 teams can be from each country.

          1. This will be determined by the team budgets. So in my proposal at least 70% of the budget must be spent in country it represents.
            For example Alpine would have to move mostly to France. Mercedes to Germany, etc.

  3. RIP meritocracy, RIP survival of the fittest, RIP top skills and competences.

    Man, how misguided those folks are. Heavy brainwashing.

    1. So not supporting the disadvantaged only the underrepresented? … interesting

      1. That’s a great point superman!!!
        Like I’ve already said – Hamilton is the worst thing that happend to F1.

  4. That all sounds great in principle, but what does the charter say? I have a feeling that the details are rather important here, especially in the cost cap era.

    1. I doubt we’ll be told until the teams who are going to sign up to it have done so.

  5. Do it on merit. Define “underrepresented”. Underrepresented based on what? If 1% of people are X and 2% of those X people are fit for a job then we are talking about 0,02% of population. No wonder there are not many of them employed in F1.

    1. @f1mre Luckily for you, Mission 44 already has such a definition, which Lewis is likely to want the F1 teams to also use as a starting point: people from low-income backgrounds, people of colour, people who have been in the care system and people who have been excluded from school.

      Given F1’s historical difficulties, I expect that women will be added in F1’s version of the charter. There may be other categories included too.

  6. One of the major obstacles to getting more people involved in racing, especially on the driving side, is financial constraints. All F1 drivers have either had the benefit of early backing from corporate partners, or are from very wealthy backgrounds. Toto Wolff has said that simply making it to F2 costs a driver about €1.5 million.

    Considering that all but a few F1 drivers make millions each year, it’d be nice if they, and their equally well compensated bosses, agree to a €2 million salary cap (which is still an enormous amount of money), and commit the rest to an FIA-run Foundation to fund the careers of talented but financially-limited junior drivers. That’d be a great way to give something back to the racing community!

  7. A person should be selected on ability alone. All other characteristics are irrelevant.

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