Hamilton: Mercedes must 'shine our light as bright as possible' to encourage change
Mercedes has introduced a revised black livery for the 2020 Formula 1 season as a visual representation of its stance against racism and discrimination, and Hamilton says the team must use its position as world champions to encourage change throughout the paddock.
Hamilton has been outspoken in his campaign for equality across the extended close-season, and his Mercedes team has listened, but the Briton says the topic has long been the subject of discussion between himself and team boss Toto Wolff.
"I’ve been in a lot of discussions with Toto and everyone at the team, with the board members at Daimler and with people within the marketing office, just to talk about our plan, and how we need to educate ourselves and be a part of this movement," Hamilton said in a Mercedes video.
"We need to be a part of wanting to change, analysing ourselves and seeing what we can do better within our team, both at Daimler but also back at the Formula 1 team.
“What you’re going to see at the first race, I think is going to be a very powerful moment for us in showing that we are not opposed to change. As a team, I think it’s great to see the team and Daimler are really forthcoming with wanting to do more in promoting diversity within their organisation, but also encouraging others within the sport to do the same.”
Hamilton said of his initial statement on social media, the driver declaring he could see those who were remaining silent: "Ultimately, people perceived it as that I was targeting drivers. I really wasn't. It was targeted at the whole industry. It's been something I've been aware of for a long, long time, and not really seen anyone do anything about it.
"In today's world where we all have a platform to be able to utilise our voice, we all have these followers, our voices are very powerful.
"If you're not a part of trying to encourage people to get out there and understand what this situation is, and why we're in this situation, then for me, that's frustrating.
"People being silent is something I've experienced for such a long time, and it's not the time to be silent. This is a time to help spread the message, to pull together. We need as many voices as we can to promote push for change.
"That was really a calling to people within the industry for accountability, for all the brands. They need to do more. This sport needs to do more. The FIA need to do more.
"We all need to do more. That was really what the message was about."
Despite remaining disillusioned at the level of change in Formula 1 throughout his career, Hamilton says that, as his relationship with Wolff has grown, the awareness of changes that need to be implemented at Mercedes has also grown.
He added: “Over time, our relationship has grown, and our understanding of what we can do better has grown, and Toto has been so supportive in really making sure we come forwards and be the leaders, because we are the world champions. We are the best team.
“We need to shine our light as bright as possible to encourage the other teams to want to do the same, the rest of the people in the industry to do the same."
I have the greatest respect for Lewis Hamilton, in what he has achieved within his sport, but I disagree entirely with his involvement in the political and racial issues which have now - in my opinion, become very boring . All lives matter, regardless of race or religion, and if this subject dominates the FI scene , that I have followed for the last 60 years - I for one, will no longer be a follower. There is no place for politics in any sport.
"I'm not a racist but...."
Sportspeople have massive Influence and should so everything they can to educate and eradicate racism
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