Lewis Hamilton insisted he’s still fully committed to pushing for more inclusivity and diversity in Formula 1 and beyond as he prepares for the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, and added everyone could do more.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar lurched from one scandal to the next, from the use of slave labour to build infrastructure to the country’s woeful human rights record, and the grand prix first held there in 2021 was caught in the same criticism.
Hamilton wore a rainbow helmet for the event and though F1‘s tightened its restrictions on drivers discussing politics, he spoke about the subject ahead of the 2023 race.
“One thousand percent, every single person could be doing more,” Hamilton told the press. “I think it’s always great, good and well raising awareness for things.
“But it’s more about the work that’s done in the background, it’s the conversations that you continue to have to have and it’s just such a big machine to shift as well.
“It’s not only what people hear, it’s a whole country that’s very young, in particular in this part of the world where it’s taken the West a long, long time to get to where they are.
“I think all we can do is try to just be positive when we do come to these place and do take the opportunity so that’s why I continue to wear the flag here.”
Hamilton admits 2021 Qatar GP was nerve-wracking
Hamilton said he was nervous ahead of the inaugural 2021 Qatar GP, when he was speaking out against the country’s human rights abuses while locked in a championship battle with Max Verstappen.
He went on to take a relatively comfortable victory there, sporting his rainbow helmet, before winning a fortnight later in Saudi Arabia to set up the now infamous decider in Abu Dhabi.
“I was very proud in 2021, it’s also like nerve-wracking because I didn’t know how the country would react,” Hamilton added.
“But it’s amazing when I do meet people who are incredibly grateful for utilizing my platform for something like that and as a sport we have to continue to work on our inclusivity. Diversity continues to be an issue.”