Mercedes boss backs up Hamilton: ‘What F1 needs is role models’

Sir Lewis Hamilton has been outspoken in his push for increased diversity in Formula 1.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has highlighted the importance of prominent figures in sport speaking up on world affairs, and wants to push for more diversity in Formula 1.

Sir Lewis Hamilton condemned the possible reversal of the landmark Roe vs Wade case in 1973, which gave women the right to get an abortion without interference from the government.

Pro-life protestors want to see this decision abolished and remove women’s rights to choose what they do with their bodies, something that the Briton could not stay quiet about.

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“I love being in the States, but I can’t ignore what’s going on right now and what some in the government are trying to do to the women who live here,” he said on his Instagram story.

“Everyone should have the right to choose what they do with their bodies. We can’t let that choice be taken away.”

Hamilton is also in the midst of a battle with the FIA surrounding the jewellery debate after he was given until the Monaco Grand Prix to make his permanent effects removeable, but he maintains that drivers should have a right to wear “personal” items in the car should they wish.

In defiance of the added reminder of fire safety in Miami, the seven-time champion wore three watches to the press conference, as well as a multitude of necklaces, bracelets and rings.

Further, the 37-year-old remains the first and only black driver on the grid, and last weekend’s race was held in Miami Gardens, where just over 70% of the population is black.

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The Hamilton Commission, as well as the Mission 44 charity, were set up by the Briton in a bid to try to increase diversity in the sport, but Wolff asserts that the sport needs to start doing more.

“What [F1] needs is role models, not only the top driver, who is the biggest role model the sport has, but we need to change that room, there needs to be a more diverse group of people talking about Formula One,” he explained.

“We just need to take one step at a time. We would love to have a very diverse group of fans and audiences and whatever we can do we are prepared to do.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown was born and raised in Los Angeles before moving to Europe to further his karting career in the 1990s.

Typically, American drivers find themselves having to travel far from home to make it to the pinnacle of motorsport, and he would like to expose F1 to wider demographics.

“If you look at the fan base that they brought in, they brought in a lot of female fans, a lot of youth,” he said. 

“Coming to new markets like Miami and then looking for not just great race broadcasts but side and shoulder programming. It’s about making incremental gains in all of these areas.

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“We just need to continue to expose our great sport to people that are new to the sport and then let the sport work its magic on everyone like it has us for many years.”

Hamilton’s appearance in Miami attracted attention from global stars, including seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady, six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan, and former footballer David Beckham, who won 15 major titles in a career that saw him play for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain.