Lewis Hamilton says it would mean more to him to win the Formula 1 drivers’ championship this season than any other due to the ongoing issues in the world, including the Black Lives Matter movement.
The only Black driver in F1 history, Hamilton enters the 2020 season with a chance of of matching Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven drivers’ titles. Although he already has six to his name, Hamilton says the way the world has been faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice has come to the fore in recent months would make a championship this year even more significant.
“Winning the title this year would mean more than ever before being that it is such a momentous year in this pandemic, which we are still fighting,” Hamilton said. “But then on a more personal level and the Black Lives Matter and fighting for injustice and equality, being in that time to be also fighting for something so important — it is not going to change in our time, our generation, but for our kids, it is such an important moment for us.
“So yes, winning the world title during this time would be even more important.”
Rather than suggesting his interest in the sport was waning, Hamilton says he has found renewed motivation for his F1 career as a result of the wider issues he is involved in.
“It has given many of us the opportunity to focus on other things we did not have as much time I would like to focus on. So I spent this time focusing on getting the Hamilton Commission set up and the work I am doing with Global Goals and Fight for Peace — supporting them and also focusing on well being and being as healthy as I can be.
“This is the first time in my career where I have not raced for so long and this has been a positive for me. It has given me a time to rejuvenate and focus. We have missed half a year of racing but I can add that onto however long I go to rejuvenate my drive, particularly with a purpose and goal and fighting for diversity.”
While Hamilton has praise for his team and F1 as a whole for its desire to play a part in ending racial injustice and improving diversity, he says there has not been enough significant effort from other teams.
“I think it is a shame it’s taken a death of another Black man in the states to kick-start all this and to have that feeling — that’s really what sparked it all and given us the platform and the microphone to raise awareness, to help try and encourage people to educate themselves,” he said. “I’ve personally had to spend a lot of time educating myself, to make sure I’m fully up to date with everything that has been, whether it’s past or present.
“I think it’s positive to see that people are reacting and do want to see more people be more proactive. F1 have been great — I’ve spent a lot of time with them on Zoom calls on their plans and how we can move forward united. I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Mercedes and it’s been great to see them on board and being part of this process of shifting and focusing on equality and inclusivity.
“There are a lot of people that just take a moment to post Blackout Tuesday, but they’re not doing much. I’ve not heard anything from any of the other teams, as far as I’m aware. The call-out was really for everyone in this industry — it doesn’t matter There’s so many great jobs here, so many opportunities, but none so far, or very, very few, have been shown to minorities. I think we really need to push. More needs to be done, for sure, but it is a starting point.
“I won’t stop pushing until we really see change. Seeing one person of color added to the paddock is not diversity. We’ve really got to dig deep, we’ve really got to pull together and do what we can to shift this.
“We’ve discussed education and that’s why I’ve commissioned this report. It’s difficult to change what you don’t know. I think everyone has an opinion on what the issue is and why we don’t have a lot of diversity here, but I should be able to come to you with actual real, factual results that show us why and how we can change it.”