F1 drivers to make anti-racism gesture

F1 drivers to make anti-racism gesture

Lewis Hamilton says he and his fellow drivers will make a collective gesture of support for anti-racism before the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The world champion said the drivers would discuss the action they would take in the next couple of days.

McLaren’s Lando Norris said on Monday that the drivers might take a knee but Hamilton said that had not been decided.

“I’m sure as drivers we will stand to represent something,” said Hamilton.

“Whatever we do, we will try to do it united.”

Taking a knee has become a symbolic gesture of support for black rights, but Hamilton said deciding whether to do that before the season-opening race “has not been on the top of my mind”.

He added: “I have been asked the question multiple times and it has not really been a priority for me to come with a plan to come and kneel at the start line.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes team have indicated their support for the issue by changing the colour scheme of their cars to black from silver, while F1 has set up a diversity commission and all cars will carry slogans in support of equal rights this weekend.

On Thursday night, Hamilton released a video revealing he will also wear a new black helmet and racing suit.

“The whole reason my helmet has changed colour, the suit has, and also the car, it’s all for equality above all, and just really continuing to solidify that message,” he said on Twitter. “We currently now have the mic, and people are starting to listen. We’ve got the opportunity to really push that message and really hold people accountable.

Lewis Hamilton

“Brands and the teams in Formula 1, everybody here needs to be held accountable and be open to educate themselves, be open to understand why the movement is happening, and why around the world we need to keep pushing for equality.

“Because it’s not good enough. Even if someone says to you we’ve been doing something or we’ve been trying, they need to try harder, because it’s still a big issue that the world is fighting, 60 years later after Martin Luther King was fighting for it.”

Hamilton himself has set up a commission to study the roots of the problem of lack of diversity in motorsport.

Hamilton added: “It is really important that we remain united – or we become united, I would say more so – in this sport and we really do have to fight the injustices and inequality.

“As to whether or not it’s sustainable, it has to be. This is the whole point of me mentioning it – it is not enough to take a moment and post ‘black-out Tuesday’ [on social media] and then go back to your regular lives.

“We have to stay on it. Black people don’t have the privilege of being able to take a moment out. It is something we have to stay on top off; the industry has to stay on top of.

“We all have to come together, each of our voices is powerful and if we bring them together collectively we can have a huge impact.”

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