Lewis Hamilton clarifies comments after sparking controversy with F1 bosses

Lewis Hamilton has stressed the need for greater diversity in Formula 1 amid a potential new entry on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, has once again emphasised the necessity of transforming the sport into a more diverse and inclusive space, asserting that change must originate “from the top down.” 

Hamilton has consistently advocated for structural changes in the sport that would facilitate greater participation of individuals from minority backgrounds.

In 2019, the British driver established the Hamilton Commission, an organisation with a dual mission to address the underrepresentation of black individuals in UK motorsport and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) sector. 

While Hamilton himself remains the sole black driver to have competed in an F1 race, recent milestones, such as Jessica Hawkins becoming the first female to test an F1 car in over five years, indicate incremental progress. 

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The last female driver to participate in a Grand Prix weekend was Susie Wolff at the 2015 British Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s recent comments highlight the significance of change originating from team principals and leaders within the sport. 

Speaking to the media following the Qatar Grand Prix, he remarked, “I feel like we need to amend the criteria actually, and make sure that there’s an opportunity for real impact, really making sure that if there is a new team, they have to be diverse. 

“They have to perhaps create an opportunity for a female driver to come through. And it has to be diverse from the top up. 

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“At the moment, it’s all white owners. And there’s a real lack of diversity from the top down. It’s all male, and that needs to change.”

Hamilton’s comments were prompted by the potential entry of an 11th team into the F1 grid, following the official approval of Andretti Global’s bid to join the sport by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). 

Andretti Global, led by former F1 driver Michael Andretti, has been active in various racing series since 2012, including Formula E, IndyCar, IMSA, and Extreme E. 

Now rebranded as Andretti Global, the team aspires to become the latest addition to the F1 grid, a development that has elicited mixed reactions from drivers, teams, and fans.

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Hamilton clarified his stance on the matter, stating, “It wasn’t that I support Andretti. 

“I think from a driver’s perspective, it’s exciting to potentially see more cars on the grid. Then the idea of an 11th team… we have over 2,000 people in our team. So that’s a huge amount of jobs. 

“But we have to make sure that the criteria, which is quite strict, is really respected.”