Lewis Hamilton, seven-time Formula 1 world champion and an advocate for social change, has expressed his lack of surprise over the absence of inclusivity within the FIA’s regulatory structure.
Despite his ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity in F1 and motorsport, the lack of gender-neutral language within the regulations remains a concerning issue.
Hamilton’s commitment to societal causes is evident through initiatives like Mission 44, which aims to provide opportunities for individuals from underprivileged backgrounds to access STEM projects.
Additionally, his influential Hamilton Commission report in 2021 led to the widespread adoption of tools and projects across the F1 grid, focused on fostering inclusivity.
Part of Hamilton’s advocacy has been to champion the visibility of female talent in Formula 1.
He has supported young, up-and-coming drivers, as exemplified by his endorsement of the now-defunct W Series.
Moreover, he emphasises the significance of recognising women who work behind the scenes as mechanics, engineers, and in various roles across team operations.
While progress has been made by F1 and the FIA to address these concerns, Hamilton’s attention is drawn to a persistent issue within the rulebook.
Despite the gradual updates to regulations, the language used still presents a glaring disparity.
The regulatory framework refers to drivers solely as ‘he,’ reflecting a gender bias that contrasts with the inclusive approach taken by other motorsport entities.
In contrast to Formula 1, the FIM and MotoGP utilise the term ‘rider’ in their rulebooks to ensure gender inclusivity.
When confronted with this discrepancy, Hamilton expressed his sentiments to the media. “It doesn’t surprise me,” he remarked, acknowledging the lack of diversity in the decision-making circles.
“It is only men in that room and it has been since I’ve been here.”
Hamilton believes that the issue stems from a lack of prioritisation.
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“There has not been enough importance [on changing], probably,” he emphasised.
The absence of a more diverse perspective in shaping regulations might contribute to the oversight.
While he acknowledges that there may be another perspective, he finds it disheartening that greater emphasis has not been placed on rectifying this issue.