Formula 1 is yet to create any meaningful change in the struggle to fight racism and improve diversity, says six-time champion Lewis Hamilton.
The catalyst behind F1’s ‘End Racism’ campaign, Hamilton offered a sharp rebuke for the sport when he was asked after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix if he was pleased with the progress that had been made so for.
“We haven’t made any progress,” he said. “We have 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 some of our awareness.”
Through the first three races of the 2020 season, F1’s efforts have amounted to the black t-shirts drivers wear pre-race, as well as affording them the opportunity to kneel in protest prior to the playing of the national anthem.
Additionally, F1 CEO Chase Carey has pledged $1 million towards a fund for under-represented groups in the sport, itself part of the #WeRaceAsOne initiative, under which all teams have a rainbow decal on their car.
However in terms of actually following through on their words, Hamilton suggests very few are matching the efforts of himself and his team, Mercedes.
“I don’t think it’s being taken serious. 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, ‘it doesn’t affect me’. I have heard those comments. ‘It doesn’t do anything for me, so why should I do it?’
“I was like, you know, it’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about this fight that the world is, people out there who are experiencing discrimination, that’s what we’re fighting for. We’re fighting for change in organisations.
“But I think Mercedes, honestly, I continue to be really proud of my team. I know you could say that I’m biased, but I’m not. The team has actually held themselves accountable and continue to really be trying to follow through and understanding it.”
In particular, Hamilton says he wants to see more leadership from Carey and FIA president Jean Todt.
“I’d love to know what Jean thinks, I’d love to know what Chase thinks, and what the organisation thinks moving forwards. But there is no progress yet.
“So far, it’s been visible, but we’ve still got to… there’s nine teams. I think there’s one 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. 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, but it shouldn’t be me who has to get on a call with them and 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 that control and pull all the strings.”