Hamilton: Motor sport must help youngsters at grassroots level


Though Stevenage isn't the slum that Lewis Hamilton would have us believe, it is fair to say that the youngster comes from a lower-middle to working class background.

Though he was famously accepted into the McLaren 'family' at an early age, it was his father who helped young Lewis first get his feet on the racing ladder.

However, at a time billionaire fathers are able to buy whole teams for their sons, Hamilton fears that other kids from less privileged backgrounds will be shut out and that the sport will miss out on their talent.

"My dad spent something like 20,000 and remortgaged the house several times in the first years," said the six-time world champion, on the Graham Norton Show.

"But today it's just got so expensive," he added. "There are very few working-class families on their way up. It's all wealthy families.

"I've got a friend of mine who was nearly in Formula 1 and he got leapfrogged by a wealthy kid, and then his opportunity was gone. So I want to somehow get it back to basics.

"If my dad hadn't done the work he did and if I didn't get signed when I was thirteen by Ron Dennis then I wouldn't be sitting in front of you today, I'd be doing something different," he told Norton, whose other guests included Ricky Gervais.

"I want to get involved in working with the FIA and Formula 1, because they can do more to give back I'd say. It doesn't need to be as expensive. I want to get it opened up because when you look at football, at tennis, there's grassroots."

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Published: 25/11/2019
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