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Hamilton: F1 diversity hasn't moved "anywhere near as much as it should have"

The diversity of staff working in Formula 1 has not moved “anywhere near as much as it should have”, according to Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

James Sutton / Motorsport Images

Last weekend’s 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale marked four years since an end-of-year team photoshoot - which he noted for a lack of diversity - prompted the Mercedes driver to eventually establish of The Hamilton Commission, a programme which works to improve the representation of Black people in UK motorsport.

The Hamilton Commission officially launched in June 2020 and then a year later, he pledged £20 million to the creation of Mission 44, a charitable foundation that helps to educate, employ and empower young people from under-represented backgrounds.

But Hamilton says that the Mercedes 2023 team photo taken on Thursday night at the Yas Marina circuit has proved that F1 has not progressed anywhere near enough with increasing its diversity.

He said: “It's more important for me [than any on-track achievements].

“Honestly, it's been a long process. It started really here in 2019.

“I'm not going to lie. We just did a team photo and I still look and I'm like, ‘Damn, we still have so much work to do’.

“There's three people of colour, for example. But there are a lot more women. But still, that needs to shift.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, George Russell, Mercedes

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, George Russell, Mercedes

“If I contrast that to 2019, I'm going to be pretty sure that it's not moved anywhere near as much as it should have. So, the challenge is to see how we shift that.”

However, Hamilton acknowledged that his initiatives are more aimed at younger people who might not have yet worked their way into F1 so far and that there is a “long slog” ahead.

PLUS: Hamilton on how Mercedes lost and found its Northern Star in 2023

He continued: “But the work that I'm doing is really targeting kids and creating a future pipeline.

“It starts from grassroots. So, it's been really great to see finally the team coming together and starting to see that we're starting to have a real impact. That makes me really proud.

“When we're in Austin, you had the kids come, all the young women come. When we were in the UK, we had a real diverse group of kids come.

“It was really cool to be able to be in the position, in a seat, to be able to open up the door for these kids to see what is possible, spark interest and create dreams that they perhaps never thought it was possible.

“So, I'm excited for the future. It's just a long slog.”

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