July 2, 2020 | News | No Comments
Lewis Hamilton says his recent words denouncing those who are silent on the subject of racism were not aimed at his fellow F1 rivals but at motorsport as a whole.
Hamilton stepped up his anti-racism activism in the wake of the killing in May of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.
At the time, the six-time world champion took to Instagram to express his feelings and his disappointment in the F1 community’s lack of reaction and support for diversity, apparently alluding to his colleagues.
“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” Hamilton wrote.
Several drivers subsequently reacted, pledging their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mercedes commits to diversity with all-black base livery for W11!
However, in a video interview released by Mercedes parent company Daimler, Hamilton clarified to whom his massage was intended.
“Ultimately, people perceived it as that I was targeting drivers,” Hamilton said.
“I really wasn’t. It was targeted at the whole industry. It’s been something I’ve been aware of for a long, long time, and not really seen anyone do anything about it.
“In today’s world where we all have a platform to be able to utilise our voice, we all have these followers, our voices are very powerful.
“If you’re not a part of trying to encourage people to get out there and understand what this situation is, and why we’re in this situation, then for me, that’s frustrating.
“People being silent is something I’ve experienced for such a long time, and it’s not the time to be silent. This is a time to help spread the message, to pull together. We need as many voices as we can to promote push for change.
“That was really a calling to people within the industry for accountability, for all the brands. They need to do more.
“This sport needs to do more. The FIA need to do more. We all need to do more. That was really what the message was about.”
Since the initiation of the protests against racial injustice, Formula 1 has launched its #WeRaceAsOne initiative which includes improving diversity in the sport. But Hamilton has also put together his own commission to do its part for diversity and inclusion in motorsport.
“It’s been great to see the response from people that there is now a real positive movement,” he said. “And it’s happening globally. I think there’s a lot of positives to take from it.
“I’ve got a platform and I think it would be irresponsible for me not to utilise that, to help educate people, to educate myself and really push for accountability within all the brands that I work with and within the industry that I work with.”
Hamilton was also instrumental in convincing Mercedes to embrace change, and reflect its stance by refreshing the livery of its 2020 car.
“I’ve been in a lot of discussions with with Toto and everyone at the team and the board members at Daimler and people within the marketing office just to talk about our plan and how we need to educate ourselves and how we need to be a part of this movement,” he said.
“We need to be a part of wanting to change, analysing ourselves and seeing what we can do better within our team, both at Daimler, but also back at the Formula 1 team.
“What you’re going to see at the first race I think is going to be a very, very powerful moment for us in showing that we are not opposed to change as a team.
“I think it’s great to see that the team and Daimler are really forthcoming with wanting to do more in promoting diversity within their organisation, but also encouraging others within the sport to do the same.”
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter