Hamilton: ‘I often felt like an outsider’

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Hamilton: ‘I often felt like an outsider’

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has spoken to Sky Sports about the growing diversity that has taken place in Formula 1 in recent years, and how as an up-and-coming driver he sometimes felt lonely as the only black driver. In recent years, the FIA ​​has increasingly focused on making the sport more inclusive, in which the Mercedes driver himself has also played a major role.

In conversation with the British sports channel, the 38-year-old Briton explains how he experienced his period towards Formula 1. “Sometimes I felt like an outsider,” said the Briton. “We thought that when we (Hamilton and his father, ed.) reached Formula 1, we had broken the pattern, and things would change. But that turned out not to be enough, which is why I started the Hamilton Commission, because I knew no one else cared enough to do the work.’

Hamilton indicates that it is not just about bringing a new dark driver to Formula 1, but about diversity as a whole. “It’s not just about young minority groups having access to engineering, but in all environments. The higher you go, the less diverse it is; that is not only the case in our industry, but in many industries. The goal is to change that, that’s part of my mission. For a long time I was winning races and feeling like something was missing. I feel great that I am now fulfilling my purpose and starting to see changes.”

Only recently seen changes

Hamilton made his debut over sixteen years ago, but it took him a long time to notice any changes. In recent years there has been a greater focus on inclusivity and diversity, the Mercedes driver notes: “Until 2021 there was actually no change, it is only in recent years that you have started to see some changes. Before that, I was an outsider and could talk about the subject as the only black man. It was a difficult, narrow and very lonely path to walk.’

“I feel like a representative for anyone who feels like they don’t have a voice,” Hamilton explains. “There are a lot of people who don’t have a voice and watch the sport and feel it’s not for them. I wouldn’t say I necessarily represent them, but I hope that if I do, I do it in a positive way.’

Finally, the Briton explains that he is not just interested in a new black driver entering Formula 1, but that he wants to see changes in society as a whole. “Formula 1 will always be an expensive sport and there is nothing I can do to change that. It is therefore not only important to find the next black racing driver. It’s about the thousands of other jobs in the background. It should be open to everyone, regardless of your skin color or gender. In ten years we will be a completely different sport, because I will take care of that personally.’

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