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Older voices creating the divide, says Hamilton

NEWS STORY
30/06/2022

As comments made by former drivers and others appear to overshadow the on-track action, Lewis Hamilton hits out at "older voices".

It began with Jackie Stewart advising Lewis Hamilton to retire, then another world champion, Nelson Piquet used a racial slur when talking about the Mercedes driver, and just as you thought it couldn't get any worse, up pops Bernie Ecclestone on Breakfast TV - Breakfast TV for God's sake - to add to his two-penn'orth.

Barely had his words of support for Vladimir Putin and his advice to Hamilton to "brush aside" the racial slurs left his mouth, than the 91-year-old was trending on Twitter, headlining in the media and consequently being distanced by the sport's current management.

While we are used to the former F1 supremo's quips and flippancy, today's comments were ill thought out and totally at odds with majority opinion.

Consequently, and sadly, not for the first time, Formula One is headline news before a wheel has so much as turned, with talk over the Silverstone weekend set to be about pretty much everything else bar the on-track action.

Understandably, and no doubt a portent of what to expect over the coming days, as the official FIA press conference returned to Thursday, Hamilton was the centre of attention.

"I've been on the receiving end of racism and criticism," the Briton told reporters, "and that negativity and archaic narratives for a long, long time, and undertones of discrimination. So there's nothing really particularly new for me. I think it's more about the bigger picture.

"I don't really know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform," he continued. "Because they're speaking upon our sport, and we're looking to go somewhere completely different and it's not representative of who we are as a sport now and where we're planning to go.

"We're looking to grow in the US and other countries, South Africa, and we need to be looking to the future and giving the younger people a platform that are more representative of today's time, and who we are trying to be in the direction that we're going.

"It's not just about one individual," he insisted, "it's not just about one use of that term. It's the bigger picture.

"It's about actual real action. We've got to actually start acting. It just comes back down to F1, to the media, we should not be giving these people a platform. These old voices, whether they're subconscious or consciously do not agree that people like me should be in a sport like this, whether women should be here.

"Discrimination is not something we should be projecting and promoting, and giving a platform to create and divide people.

"The last couple of weeks, I don't think there's been a day go by where there's been someone who has not been relevant in our sport for decades, trying to say negative things and starting to bring me down.

"It's all well and good standing on the grid and talking about inclusivity," said the Briton, who last year announced a joint initiative with Mercedes to increase diversity and inclusion within motorsport, and which today revealed the first recipients of its grants. "But they're just empty words if we're not actually putting action in.

"This is a growing business. Teams are making more money than they've ever made before, and they'll continue to grow in doing so. I'm not aware of all the other funds that have been put towards D&I. I'll be willing to bet it's not as much as we've already put in and are planning to put in.

"I've been on calls with all the F1 teams who have agreed to be part of this F1 charter and they have still not signed, and it's still not under way. No more can we be amplifying these voices that are just creating that divide out there."

Of course, in a world where we appear to be increasingly divided, increasingly polarised, is it actually right to focus all the blame on "older voices", especially as we arrive at Silverstone, the circuit owned by the British Racing Drivers’ Club, a bastion of blazer wearers according to a certain Bernard Charles...

Check out our Thursday gallery from Silverstone here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Chester, 02/07/2022 17:50

"No one talks of retirement when you are succeeding. Rumors of retirement surface in all sports as stars age. Raikonnen and Alonso come to mind. No one is immune."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by KKK, 01/07/2022 19:46

"To be honest, Mr Ecclestone should watch out advertising the fact that he is close to Putin, He could be sanctioned...."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 01/07/2022 15:16

"Whether you not like or agree with Bernie's comments, but he's still sharper and smarter than any of us here.

You may not understand or respect his point of view, but to dismiss him or his point of view is naive."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by LiamIII, 01/07/2022 14:31

"@elsiebc Yep, They didn't get it. Apparently sarcasm is a highly tuned skill we share. I'm getting pretty old, but nothing like the dried prunes that obviously missed the point. :0

Is it tea time yet? Go ahead and hit negative just for fun. :) "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by kenji, 01/07/2022 14:17

"Just wonder what Hamilton would have said if Nicky Lauda was still around! Would he try and cancel him as well. "

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by elsiebc, 01/07/2022 11:14

"It looks like my sarcasm was missed by many. It's a comment on the state of things when something so absurd is looked upon as truth by so many."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Max Noble, 01/07/2022 10:26

"Motor Racing! Wow. Does this great site cover that too?"

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by kenji, 01/07/2022 9:52

"@ Lapps...email Mercedes/Hamilton with that request as that's where you should be concentrating."

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9. Posted by Lapps, 01/07/2022 8:37

"PLEASE can we focus on Motor Racing?"

Rating: Positive (6)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by phantom, 01/07/2022 5:42

"Then there's the fact that Lewis is/has proven if he's not in the best car on the Grid he can't even beat his teammate. Maybe it's age. :-)"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by Max Noble, 01/07/2022 1:53

"Logan’s Run drew the line at 30… So Lewis is cancelled too…"

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

12. Posted by Tardis40, 01/07/2022 0:13

"Hamilton is no spring chicken himself anymore."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

13. Posted by kenji, 30/06/2022 23:20

"Everyone is entitled to an opinion and Hamilton's latest whine is no exception, however where the hypocrisy starts is his pathetic attempt to close down alternate opinions based on the age of the commentator. What an insult!! If, as he claims, older people's opinions are no longer relevant then they will got garner attention and will eventually be forgotten. There must always be reasoned debate and Hamilton's attempt to stifle that should be seen for what it is........naked platforming. Piquet's [ bad ] choice of comment was never a highlight until someone somewhere dragged it out to fit an agenda. Think about it...I still don't accept coincidences, especially in F1."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

14. Posted by Kristofforo, 30/06/2022 21:24

"As I said a few days ago here: why are we still listening to Bernie, he should go away, and take his Putin loving out of touch views with him! "

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15. Posted by Spindoctor, 30/06/2022 18:47

"@editor
Your admonition is noted:
Hello trees, hello sky…."

Rating: Positive (6)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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