Lewis Hamilton has welcomed FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem walking back his comments stating that drivers shouldn’t be using their F1 platform to advocate social and environmental causes.
Ben Sulayem singled out Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Lando Norris for using Formula 1 to “impose [their] beliefs” on the audience in an interview published last week, but in a tweet on Thursday he clarified that he believed the sport could be a force for positive change.
“As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society,” he wrote. “That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate. In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future.”
Hamilton is one of the sport’s most outspoken social and environmental activists, including his efforts with the Hamilton Commission, which he set up to support greater diversity in motorsport. The seven-time champion said he appreciated the head of world motorsport’s clarification, but that he would continue his advocacy for causes he believes in.
“I heard he has clarified things on social media, which is positive,” he said. “That doesn’t stop us doing what we are doing.
“The sport is continuously growing. We have a bigger audience than ever before — I think it has gone up 9 percent or something like that — and it continues to be an important platform for us to use our voices, every single one of us here within the industry, within our companies, to do more, to speak out more on things and to spark more conversations.”
Hamilton pointed to Mercedes running pride colors on its car (pictured above) — one of several teams supporting Pride Month — as an example of simple actions the sport could undertake and implored Formula 1 to continue pushing for positive change.
“I’m really proud with what we are doing at Mercedes with our Pride Month star on the car, which is the first time I’ve seen that during my time at Mercedes,” he said. “We have over 100,000 people within Mercedes-Benz, and creating a more inclusive environment is so important — creating better diversity within our organization, but also it’s so important within our sport.
“It’s moving at a very slow pace and we need more people to utilize that platform, so I encourage all the drivers to be more outspoken in future and speak out on things they care about. I’m proud of what Seb [Vettel] does and to be an ally of his.”