Silverstone, England – Lewis Hamilton said “old voices” from Formula 1 such as Nelson Beckett have nothing to do with what the sport wants to achieve in the future and should not be given a platform to promote discriminatory opinions.
Three-times champion Pique has been banned from the Formula 1 circuit after he used a racist insult to describe Hamilton in the 2021 podcast that attracted media attention this week.
Hamilton said the 69-year-old former Brazilian driver is part of an era and that the F1 generation is trying to get away from it.
Hamilton said ahead of the British Grand Prix, who is looking to win it for a record-breaking nine o’clock Sunday.
“So there’s nothing particularly new to me. I think it’s about the bigger picture. I’m not really sure, I don’t know why we keep giving these old voices a platform.”
“They talk about our sport and we’re looking to go somewhere completely different, and I don’t think it represents who we are as a sport and where we plan to go.
“If we’re looking to grow in the United States and other countries, and South Africa, increase our audience and look to the future and give young people a platform that is more representative of the time of day and who we’re trying to be and the direction we’re going, it’s not just about one individual, and it’s not just about one use of the term – It’s the bigger picture.”
Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula One, has been repeatedly criticized in the media, with Britain’s Daily Mail regularly showing interviews with former drivers such as Jackie Stewart and John Watson and former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone criticizing his driving sense of fashion or his interest in music.
Hamilton later added: “These ancient voices…whether subconscious or conscious…don’t agree that people like me should play a sport like this, don’t agree that women should be here.”
“The comments we’ve seen from these people aren’t helpful. I don’t think, in the past two weeks, I don’t think a day has gone by where there hasn’t been someone who hasn’t been in our sport or for decades I’ve been saying negative things or trying to put me down, but I’m still here I’m still standing strong.”
Hamilton also called on F1 and other companies around the world to stop relying on written responses to examples of racism and abuse and instead respond with purposeful action.
The seven-time world champion has done this himself, pouring millions of pounds of his own money into the Hamilton Committee, which has drawn up a list of recommendations for increasing diversity in the sport.
Through his charitable foundation Mission 44, he launched an initiative called Ignite, which this week announced its first grants as a push to bring in people with low incomes and ethnic minorities.
“I think we’re just living in a time where there are a lot of people who have said they are supportive over the past few years, but there are a lot of rants. And we’re not doing that, we’re taking action and putting our money where it’s right. I’m really proud. I think we need to Get everyone involved naturally and do something because we can’t do it online,” Hamilton said.
“You have to imagine that everyone’s PR agency has a script ready for something like crisis management. That’s not enough. Now it’s about real, real business.”
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