Hamilton warns drivers against 'complicit silence' in battle on racism
Lewis Hamilton has revealed to there being "still some silence in some cases" from his fellow Formula 1 drivers on the subject of racism.
Hamilton has been a powerful activist for change with regard to diversity in F1 following his initial outspoken views via his social media channels in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the United States.
F1 has since promoted its #WeRaceAsOne initiative as it seeks to address the diversity issue, while there has also been debate on the approach from drivers and teams ahead of the start of the Austrian Grand Prix, and whether they would take a knee, as seen recently ahead of matches when the Premier League restarted.
Such an expression is understood to have caused division amongst the drivers, resulting in the Grand Prix Drivers' Association confirming its members will now take whatever action they deem appropriate.
A GPDA statement read: "The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has held a number of virtual meetings with all 20 Formula 1 drivers to agree how best to show their collective support for the fight against racism ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.
“All 20 drivers stand united with their teams against racism and prejudice, at the same time embracing the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion and supporting Formula 1’s commitment to these.
“Together the drivers will all show their public support for this cause on Sunday ahead of the race, recognising and respecting that each individual has the freedom to show their support for ending racism in their own way and will be free to choose how to do this ahead of the race start on Sunday.”
All drivers are to at least wear a t-shirt with a message of anti-racism support.
Following the drivers' briefing on Friday at the Red Bull Ring, Hamilton, though, has stated there remain those unwilling to speak out.
Asked initially as to his own course of action, Hamilton's remarks were revealing as he said: "Honestly, I don’t have any plans at the moment.
"I’ve not thought that far forward but I’m sure over the evening we will… we spoke a bit in the drivers’ briefing and yup, interesting.
"But it’s good that we’re kind of all at least in discussion and I don’t know what we’ll see tomorrow. I think, potentially, people paying their respects in their own ways."
Pressed on what unfolded in the meeting, and his "interesting" comment, Hamilton added: "I just acknowledged a lot of the drivers that… obviously there was an interpretation of a message that I had posted, asking for people to speak out and their silence and just saying thank you to those who have said something on their social media platforms ‘cos they’ve got a great voice, a great platform and then encouraging the others that haven’t said something.
"I just described the scenario that silence is generally really complicit, so there still is some silence in some cases but I think it’s also part of a dialogue of people trying to understand, because there are still people that don’t fully understand exactly what is happening and what are the reasons for these protests.
"So I continue to try and be that guide, try to influence and make people understand what they can with it."
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