"Children around the world saw what happened" - Lewis Hamilton fans react to F1 CEO's 'diversity interview'

Stefano Domenicali (left) was criticized by Lewis Hamilton's (right) fans for his recent interview
Stefano Domenicali (left) was criticized by Lewis Hamilton's (right) fans for his recent interview

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has come under fire from Lewis Hamilton’s fans following his recent “diversity interview”, wherein the Italian claimed F1 was “committed to increasing diversity”.

Fans have taken issue with his statements, claiming that the FIA and F1 are only committed to denying representation within the sport, following last season’s controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where Hamilton lost his bid for a record-breaking eighth world title.

The FOM recently announced that it was extending its funding for a scholarship for underprivileged students seeking a career in motorsports until 2025. Speaking in an interview after the announcement, Domenicali said:

“Our programme for scholars provides fantastic opportunity for some incredibly talented students to begin their journeys with Formula 1. We want to continue to ensure that talent from underrepresented groups has meaningful opportunities, with the first 10 scholars already beginning their studies following Chase’s incredible donation to fund the scholars in their first year. We want to continue and build on the foundations of the programme in the years ahead.”

The FOM has been aggressively pushing to achieve increased diversity within F1 over the last few seasons. Some fans, however, seemed to think it was all a marketing gimmick rather than a serious push to increase inclusivity.

Fans feel that the actions of race director Michael Masi at last season’s finale denied Lewis Hamilton from securing a historic title that would have “inspired more children” than any of F1’s actions.

Others felt that the program's coverage of a paltry number of students wasn’t enough to initiate significant change. Since its initial setup last year, the program has offered scholarships to 10 students in the UK, while the new extension will add another ten within the next five years.

Lewis Hamilton “okay” with F1 abandoning pre-race kneeling ceremony

Lewis Hamilton is reportedly not bothered by F1’s decision to stop the pre-race kneeling ceremony from the upcoming season. The ceremony was originally introduced in 2020 at the Briton's insistence following George Floyd’s death in the United States as a mark of solidarity with the black community.

According to F1 pundit Craig Slater, Hamilton reportedly had discussions with F1 before the decision was taken. Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports, Slater said:

“I have learned today that he (Hamilton) is okay with it. He agrees with the general principle that actions speak louder than gestures.”

The ceremony was introduced on an impromptu basis and was often controversial for various reasons. While almost all drivers on the grid actively participated, despite it not being mandatory, not all of them were happy with kneeling, and instead chose to just stand in solidarity with the drivers who were kneeling.

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Edited by Anurag C