(Motorsport-Total.com) – Lewis Hamilton is at the zenith of his career. In this Formula 1 season he is driving towards his seventh world title and is well on the way to catching up with record holder Michael Schumacher. But if Hamilton one day resigns, he will not only be remembered for his successes on the track.
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This season he is committed like no other in the fight against racism and for more diversity – in society and in sport. To this end, the 35-year-old Brit founded his own commission, initiated the “End Racism” protest before each race and took the floor for the good cause in other ways.
His half-brother Nicolas Hamilton, himself a driver in the British Touring Car Championship, fears that this is exactly what Formula 1 will lack when the world champion retires. And that it’s not just sport that will suffer.
Hamilton brother calls for more equal opportunities
“At the moment, motorsport is viewed as an industry that is difficult to come into contact with,” he said in an interview with ‘CNN Sport’. “You don’t know where to go to get an opportunity. You don’t see any or very few black faces there, right now it’s just Lewis.”
“When he’s gone, who will you look up to? Who will you see then?” Asks Nicolas Hamilton. “There aren’t many people, not even women. Women love cars just as much as men do. So there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have equal opportunities in this sense as well.”
For its part, Formula 1 wants to counteract this with a “task force”. It is intended to ensure “that we give people from all backgrounds the best opportunities to work in Formula 1, regardless of gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or physical abilities,” it says in a statement.
“Back then, motorsport didn’t do enough”
An important step for Nicolas Hamilton. He remembers: “We fought as a black family, we received a lot of racist abuse. (…) There are very few colored people in motorsport, and when there are colored people, you sometimes see a lot of racism.” His brother found out about it too.
At a test session in Barcelona in 2008, a group of spectators wore black complexions, curly wigs and T-shirts that read “Hamilton’s family”. The FIA initiated the anti-racism campaign EveryRace at that time.
A similar incident occurred at the Spanish Grand Prix the following year. “At the time, yes, motorsport didn’t do enough back then,” says Nicolas Hamilton, looking back, “but now it’s starting, which is a good thing.” However, from his point of view, efforts should not concentrate solely on the issue of racism.
Not just for blacks: F1 needs to be more open
The 28-year-old suffers from cerebral palsy and drives a modified car in the BTCC. He wants Formula 1 to be more accessible for people with disabilities: “I would like people in wheelchairs to have access to the race track and the racing cars, regardless of whether they are mechanics, engineers or aerodynamicists.”
“Maybe they come from a different background, have never been able to walk … That’s fine, but they can still pursue their dream of being a mechanic or whatever, in an industry that is a good place to start they were once designed as heavy. I’d like to see that, “says Nicolas Hamilton.