As the inaugural F1 Grand Prix in Miami approaches, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton opened up about how “lonely” he feels being the only Black racer in the sport.
Hamilton appeared on Good Morning America on Monday and shared his ongoing work to improve diversity in the sport. The UK native explained how he’s felt over the last three decades he’s played the sport and has been the only person of color in sight.
“It’s been generally quite a lonely journey. It’s just been my and my family, we’re the only Black family [in F1],” Hamilton said.
“I’ve been racing 29 years; I’m 37 now. I’ve been a professional for 16 years, but most often, I’m the only person of color in the room.”
Hamilton credited F1’s diversity issue with inspiring him to launch the Hamilton Commission in 2020, an organization addressing the lack of Black people in UK motorsports. He also created “Mission44,” which aims to “support, champion and empower young people from underrepresented groups in the UK to succeed,” Sports Illustrated reports.
Speaking on how his organizations work to combat the lack of diversity in motorsports, the seven-time world champion stressed the importance of education and how he’s using his own funds to bring about the much-needed change.
“And when I asked the question, there was no real great feedback answer to that question, so I put together the Hamilton Commission because it starts with education and understanding,” Hamilton said. “We have put together this body of research to try and understand what those barriers are.”
“We found that not only in our industry, where we have over 40,000 jobs but only 1% come from Black backgrounds, but that there are real systemic issues within the educational system as well.”
“The Hamilton Commission has now started Mission44, which I’ve funded myself to try and create more representation, support, and empowerment for these young, under-served groups.”