When I watch F1, I love that I can see a mix of drivers from all over the world. But could the organisation do more to support the seeds of racial inequality present in the sport?
Today’s political climate has seen a huge rise in support for the BLM movement and on the 25th June, F1 launched a #WeRaceAsOne initiative to try and do their part in combating the issues of racism and ignorance in both society and the world of motorsport. F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey said: “We fully recognise that Formula 1 needs to be more inclusive and diverse” and this has never been clearer than it is now.
Lewis Hamilton has been very vocal in his desire for teams in F1 to do more to promote diversity within the sport. At the Spanish Grand Prix in 2008 he was mocked by fans who used blackface. Though for many this seems like a thing of the past, 12 years later he still experiences significant levels of online abuse.
Sadly, it does not take much effort to be able to find the mass amount of online hate comments towards him. A few weeks ago, when some F1 drivers took the knee in support of BLM, I was horrified to see comments online completely tearing Hamilton down and accusing people wanting to support BLM of being ‘sheep’.
I think it is wonderful that Hamilton is trying to encourage awareness of the Black community and the struggles they face and I’d love to see his fellow racers and teams do their part to promote and encourage diversity.
F1 should be doing all they can to prevent the racial abuse that is directed towards the Black community. Young Black children of all socio-economic backgrounds should have greater opportunities to train in karting sessions. F1 should utilise their platforms on social media and television to broadcast educational videos on equality perhaps prior to races, or even go into schools to deliver talks on the importance of diversity within the world of professional sport.
Equal opportunities need to be developed within the racing community, which has systemic flaws that favour those from privileged backgrounds. The teams behind the drivers themselves should be the focus of this inclusivity. Through such changes, F1 could present a united front and actively put in the effort to bring communities together.
F1 has such a large fan base and it could be doing so much more to show more positive messages to the world. Yes, the primary focus of the organisation has and always will be sport, but there is a great opportunity to go furthwe. Children need to be able to watch F1 and look up to a diverse range of fantastic drivers.
Racing is about talent, creativity, passion, and freedom. These are not bound by race or background, and I hope to one day see this reflected in F1’s drivers, teams and other personnel.