Lewis Hamilton has called for more diversity to be added to the criteria for new entrants to pass if they want to join the Formula 1 grid.
In early October 2023, the FIA announced Andretti Global had passed its entry requirements and would advance towards the third stage of the process conducted by FOM (Formula One Management).
Andretti Global, backed by General Motors, has proven to be a controversial topic in the paddock, with existing F1 teams and Liberty Media critical of what the project could bring to the sport.
“Firstly, it wasn’t that I support Andretti,” explained Hamilton to the press. “I think from a driver’s perspective, it’s exciting to potentially see more cars.
“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 respected.
“I feel like we need to amend the criteria actually and make sure there’s an opportunity for real impact, really making sure a new team have to be diverse. Perhaps create an opportunity for a female driver to come through.
“At the moment, it’s all white owners and there’s a real lack of diversity from the top down. It’s all male, and that needs to change.”
Russell with a neutral view
Talk of an 11th team has been in the works for some time in F1. While a number of other would-be competitors have tried and failed to get their applications approved – namely existing racing teams Rodin Cars and Hitech, as well as Asian outfit Lky Sunz – only Andretti‘s bid got the seal of approval.
While the Andretti bid has the halo of being backed by former F1 champion Mario Andretti, and will be a fully fledged US outfit, a key market for the championship, there is no guarantee that it will get off the ground.
George Russell highlighted that while he wouldn’t feel strongly either way about having more competition on track personally, any team that were to come onto the grid would have to be capable of competing on their own terms at the highest level.
“I think Formula 1 is the pinnacle and we want to see quality competition,” said Russell. “So I’m not for it, and I’m not against but definitely if there were to be an extra team it has got to be a quality outfit, one that can add to the sport. And we want to see competition.
“In an ideal world, you want to see all 10 teams fighting against one another. So I’m sure F1 will come to the best conclusion and answer whatever it may be, but it’s just we have got to have quality over quantity. But as I said, I don’t feel strongly.”