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Hamilton clarifies Andretti stance, F1 needs more diverse team owners

Lewis Hamilton says the FIA criteria for accepting new Formula 1 teams must change to allow for more diverse owners and to create greater opportunities for female drivers.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

The FIA has approved Andretti’s new team bid after ruling it to be financially stable, able to achieve sustainability targets and use the F1 platform to contribute positively to society.

Mercedes driver Hamilton initially appeared to be in favour of Andretti, saying on Thursday ahead of the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix that it was “great” and would provide more jobs.

MORE: How the FIA went from seven F1 new team bids to Andretti

But the current 10 teams are skeptical about a new entry destabilizing F1 and taking away from their commercial income. Andretti must now seek rights holder FOM approval if its entry is to progress any further.

Later, Hamilton appeared to step down from his Andretti support. He wrote on social media: “Nope, don’t support Andretti. Just the idea of another team in future if it’s a chance to make our sport more diverse.”

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Asked by Autosport to clarify his stance, the seven-time world champion leaned more towards the good that any 11th team might offer the series.

But Hamilton added that the FIA new team entry criteria must be amended if F1 was going to diversify the make-up of its team owners and all-male driver line-up.

He said: “Firstly, it wasn’t that I support Andretti. I think from a driver’s perspective, it’s exciting to potentially see more cars.

“And then, the idea of an 11th team, we have over 2000 people in our team so that’s a huge amount of jobs.

“But we have to make sure that the criteria, which is quite strict, is really respected.

“I feel like we need to amend the criteria actually and make sure that there’s an opportunity for real impact, really making sure that if there is a new team, they have to be diverse.”

Jamie Chadwick

Jamie Chadwick

Photo by: Indy Lights

Rodin Cars was another bidder attempting to join the F1 grid but was ultimately rejected by the FIA. Founder David Dicker has said he would have put three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick in the car.

Hamilton continued: “They have to perhaps create an opportunity for a female driver to come through. And it has to be diverse from the top.

“At the moment, it’s all white owners. There’s a real lack of diversity from the top down.

“[It’s] all male and that needs to change. That’s my thought.”

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However, Hamilton added that he fully backed F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, saying no one is better equipped to lead the championship in its pending Andretti verdict.

“I really do have 100% faith in Stefano, who I’ve known for a long, long time,” said Hamilton.

“What he’s doing at the top, there’s no one that can do a better job than him. I know that he will make the right decision moving forward.

“He’s a racer and he’s passionate about the growth of the sport. So, happy to leave it in his capable hands.”

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