Lewis Hamilton speaks out as F1 reaches “pivotal moment” over recent controversies

Lewis Hamilton addresses the recent off-track controversies that are dominating F1.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2,…

Lewis Hamilton says F1 has reached a “pivotal moment” as off-track controversies continue to make headlines and overshadow the sport.

Last weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was dominated by stories about Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who was cleared of inappropriate behaviour before an anonymous email including messages purporting to involve Horner were leaked a day later, putting him under fresh scrutiny.

Since Bahrain, it has emerged that FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is being investigated for an alleged attempt to interfere with an F1 race. Separately, Ben Sulayem allegedly told officials not to certify last year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.

"As someone who loves the sport, it's definitely disappointing to see what's going on right now,” Hamilton said when asked if it saddened him that off-track events where dominating the sport ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“It doesn't look good from the outside world, the outside looking in. I think it's a really, really important time for the sport to really show and stick to its values, holding ourselves accountable for our actions.

“And it's a really, really pivotal moment, I think, for the sport, in terms of what we project to the world, and how it's handled. And it's not been handled very well to this point.

“Transparency is really key. And I'm really, really hoping to see some progress moving forwards.

“I hope it's not a year that continues to go on with this. But it highlights some of the issues we also have within the sport.

“And when we're talking about diversity, inclusion, that inclusion for example, and making people feel comfortable in this environment, is key. And it's clearly not the case.”

He added: "This is not the part of the sport that I love. But you find these things, I guess, in business. It definitely is an interesting time.”

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix,
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal on the grid. Formula…

Considering the possible impact the Horner saga could have on Red Bull, with Max Verstappen's father, Jos, wading in on the matter amid suggestions of tension within the camp, Hamilton cited his own experiences at McLaren at a time when Ron Dennis was facing questions over his leadership.

“Just from my experience obviously having gone through something similar back in the day when I was at McLaren, in the sense of our leader was in question, and was going through a difficult time. And it affected everybody,” Hamilton said.

“I remember kind of when we were losing Ron, for example, the things that Ron was going through, and the steps that we had to take, it affected all of us.

“A leader is super important because they set the tone, they make sure the team sticks to the core values of what the sport is about, and integrity.

“And whilst there are loads of people further down the trough who are just as important, that leader is key, I think, to the destination that you're working towards.”

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