In an interview with Amanda Davies on CNN, Ex-Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone discussed six-time Champion Lewis Hamilton’s struggles with racism throughout his career and the sport’s reactionary response to racism and diversity in the championship.
Ecclestone, who was the stalwart Formula 1 for forty years, explained that the teams in the sport can do very little to tackle racism and it hangs on the fans, and the wider public to make the biggest impact in equality and acceptance in Motorsport.
He said to CNN: “I think it’s the public at large that have to start thinking. I don’t honestly believe over the years in general people have been that much concerned.
“They should have been. It’s not a good excuse not to be concerned but everybody’s too busy doing things that they have to do on a day-to-day to think about something that doesn’t directly affect them. It probably affects all of us but not directly.”
Mercedes AMG Motorsport driver Hamilton, who is the only black driver to have competed in F1, has used his platform to speak out about racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked rallies and protests globally.
Ecclestone praised the driver for using his voice to raise awareness of the current campaigns for equality in the black community.
He told CNN: “Lewis is a bit special. First, he’s very, very, very talented as a driver and he seems to be now extremely talented when he’s standing up and making speeches. This last campaign he’s doing for the Black people is wonderful. He’s doing a great job and it’s people like that – easily recognisable – that people listen to.”
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement gaining traction, Hamilton set up the The Hamilton Commission to improve diversity in Motorsport, however Bernie does not think it is the answer to make any impact on F1, telling CNN:
“I don’t think it’s going to do anything bad or good for Formula 1. It’ll just make people think which is more important.
“I think that’s the same for everybody. People ought to think a little bit and think: ‘Well, what the hell. Somebody’s not the same as White people and Black people should think the same thing about White people.’ “
“In lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what White people are.”
His comments come as Formula 1 and its current owners, Liberty Media, launched the We Race As One initiative which aims to improve diversity and inclusion in the long term of the sport.