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Hamilton underwhelmed by progression of diversity in Formula One

Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, believes the diversity of Formula one staff hasn't progressed as much as it should

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Lewis Hamilton has spoken out on diversity within Formula One, saying he feels it hasn’t progressed as much as it should have. 

Mercedes and Hamilton
Mercedes’ team photo at the end of the 2023 season (Credit: X @MercedesAMGF1)

Four years ago, a Mercedes team photoshoot highlighted to Lewis Hamilton the lack of diversity within Formula One. This led Hamilton to create The Hamilton Commission, addressing Black representation in UK motorsport.

The Hamilton Commission, officially launched in the summer of 2020, aims to address diversity issues in motorsport. A year later, Hamilton pledged £20 million to establish Mission 44, a charitable foundation dedicated to the education, employment, and empowerment of young individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.

The Hamilton Commission itself is made up of 14 experts, all with diverse expertise that encompasses crucial domains of influence, featuring individuals from motorsport and engineering, as well as representatives from schools, colleges, and universities.

On the 3rd of August 2023, the commission compiled and released a 10-month-long report working in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Engineering. It highlighted an obvious disparity between the number of ethnic backgrounds working within Formula One with it estimated to be lower than 1%.

And as such, the seven-time world champion has expressed his unhappiness with the growth of diversity within the sport.

For the greater good

Hamilton, a relentless advocate, who champions diversity in Formula One, expressed dissatisfaction, emphasizing that the team photo taken on the Thursday night of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, highlighted a glaring lack of progress in Formula One’s efforts to enhance diversity within its ranks.

In a conversation with Motorsport.com, Hamilton went on to express his feelings surrounding the noticeable lack of representation alongside how passionate he is about the topic whilst highlighting the improvements that have been made. The Mercedes driver said:

“It’s more important for me [than any on-track achievements].

“Honestly, it’s been a long process. It started really here [Abu Dhabi] in 2019.

“I’m not going to lie. We just did a team photo and I still look and I’m like, ‘Damn, we still have so much work to do’.

“There’s three people of colour, for example. But there are a lot more women. But still, that needs to shift.

“If I contrast that to 2019, I’m going to be pretty sure that it’s not moved anywhere near as much as it should have. So, the challenge is to see how we shift that.”

Nevertheless, Hamilton admitted that the target audience of his initiatives is primarily the younger generation and building the foundation for them to enter motorsport. He emphasized the inherent challenges, recognizing the “long slog” ahead in fostering inclusivity and representation within the sport.

Building blocks

Following up on his comments, Hamilton expressed a want to provide and curate as many opportunities for youth as possible. Acknowledging once again that the majority of his work is targeted at a younger generation who may not have yet found their way into Formula One, Hamilton expressed his commitment to providing opportunities for youth.

He said: “The work I’m doing is really targeting kids and creating a future pipeline [for motorsport].

“It starts from grassroots. So, it’s been really great to see finally the team coming together and starting to see that we’re starting to have a real impact. That makes me really proud.

“When we’re in Austin, you had the kids come, all the young women come. When we were in the UK, we had a real diverse group of kids come.

“It was really cool to be able to be in the position, in a seat, to be able to open up the door for these kids to see what is possible, spark interest and create dreams that they perhaps never thought it was possible.

“So, I’m excited for the future. It’s just a long slog.”

Headline image: GettyImages

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