IS F1 A “BILLIONAIRE CLUB”?
Sir Lewis Hamilton, seven time world champion, athlete, entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashion designer, and environment defender, is working tirelessly to help the category increase in representation from people coming from different backgrounds, and more approachable, because according to the driver Formula 1 has become a “club of billionaires”.
Written by Bruna Brito, Edited by Hazel Alagappan
Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton has been very open about his history and all the sacrifices he and his family had to do to get into the highest and prestigious world of motorsport, “My dad, he never went out. He never had new clothes. He wasn’t saving up to buy anything new. Everything — remortgaging the house multiple times — went into go-karting, which sounds crazy. It is crazy, but he believed so much in me” .
Linked to McLaren at age of 13, Lewis was fortunate to get sponsors who believed in him, giving the support he needed at the time, but unfortunately this is not the same scenario for most young drivers, like the recent case with Jean Alesi’s son, Giuliano, “I’m very very sad about that because I’m an ex-Formula 1 driver, I have connections, but I had to sell my Ferrari F40 to give the budget of my son to race in Formula 2. And why? Because it’s almost impossible to find sponsorship.”, declared the former F1 driver at the time.
This week, it was announced that Gianluca Petecof may not continue in Formula 2, because of the lack of sponsors. The shocking news created a whole movement on social media, to increase attention and money to keep supporting the young brazilian driver.
Currently the 2021 F1 “billionaire club” is made up of three drivers: Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin, who have always been questioned about the influence of parents’ money on maintaining their careers in the category.
Sir Hamilton remembered how difficult it is for a normal kid, coming from parents who may have regular jobs to invest in their kids career, turning the sport very segregated: “Personally, I believe that we are at a time when this is becoming a billionaire boys’ club. Growing up in a normal working-class family, I would have no way to be here. The guys I have to fight have a lot more money “. Sir Lewis’ opinion is not far off, as all sports fans already know the premise that what drives Formula One is money.
And if it depends on Sir Lewis Hamilton, the champion is already working on projects to lighten the diversity.
Last year, he launched the “Hamilton Commission”, in partnership with the London Royal Academy of Engineering to understand the difficulties that people from ethnic minorities experience to enter and stay in sport at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
In 2021, in the announcement of the renewal of the contract with Mercedes, the driver and the team announced the creation of a foundation that will seek to enable the entry of people from less privileged backgrounds in the sport.
after 70 years of history, “It seems to be the time to change”, Lewis is the greatest character and his image echoes fundamental movements today, we hope that his voice will help many others and with all the changes provided for in the regulation, the grid may be more representative , as well as being able to add greater competitiveness, making it the most balanced championship.
Read more about the Mercedes Program here
Also read about the “perfect F1 team” here