‘We support Hamilton completely’, says Brawn as he explains how F1 is trying to broaden diversity
Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been using his social media platforms to speak out on racism and diversity, and in recent days has called for Formula 1 to do more. Today F1 motorsports boss Ross Brawn said he fully backs the Mercedes driver’s comments.
Hamilton – the grid’s only black driver – was the first Formula 1 driver to speak publicly about the events following the death of George Floyd in the United States last month – with many of his rivals following suit. He has continued to post on his channels, calling on governments to do more to tackle the problem.
“Lewis is a great ambassador for the sport, and I think his comments are very valid,” Brawn told Sky Sports. “We support him completely.”
Brawn says F1 is working to increase diversity, starting at grassroots level in terms of driving opportunities but also working across the spectrum of roles involved in F1.
“We as F1 have recognised for a few years now that we want to strengthen our diversity programme and both internally as a company and externally, we started work on this a few years ago,” he said.
“Our thoughts were that the reason why we don’t have more diversity in Formula 1 starts at grassroots level, it even starts in schools with the appeal for STEM topics – science, technology, engineering and maths. How can we get involved in that?
“We’ve been involved in F1 in Schools, we have always supported it, but we became far more involved in the last year or two, and that has a very strong diversity in terms of the kids who get involved in it.
we can give greater opportunity to minority and ethnic groups to get involved in motorsport, not just driving but engineering and other activities
“Forty per cent of the kids who get involved in F1 in Schools are girls, so that’s a good start. It’s an international competition, so we get competitors from all groups. We are looking very strongly at how we can support grassroots racing.
“I’ve spent the last weeks and months working with a group to look at how we can have a basic karting initiative to get kids involved in karting at a very early stage.
“F1 is a very strong meritocracy, it should always be that way. It should always be the best who win. We can’t force that but we can give greater opportunity to minority and ethnic groups to get involved in motorsport, not just driving but engineering and other activities. That’s where we are with Formula 1.
“We support totally what Lewis has said. What happened was dreadful, it happens far too often. You’ve seen the public reaction to it. It’s almost the straw that broke the camel’s back and we support him totally.”
Last week Hamilton's team principal at Mercedes Toto Wolff also backed his star driver's recent comments. "I think it is good that Lewis as a sports superstar is the one up front with it in a sport which is very much dominated by white males," he said. "All of us can make a difference."